Round Up Post

Technology marches on.  Yet another “3D printed” gun.  Yes, it’s plastic, with a steel barrel, bolt, springs, and a few other important metal parts.

America has been at war during the entire Obama Occupy the White House Golf Tour.  Unexpectedly.

Burlington College is being forced to close due to “crushing debt” it acquired by President Sanders.  Jane Sanders, wife of Vermont Socialist and massive pain in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s sizable ass, did to Burlington College what her husband wants to do to America.

The democrat Culture of Corruption marches on.  The Department Veterans Affairs is reinstating an employee who stole $130,000 from the agency.  Graft, fraud, and corruption is just the cost of doing business when democrats are in power.

Even the New York Times has to admit the problems with Obamacare, like just how many doctors won’t accept it.

13 Incompetent Failures in the Obama Administration. There are many, many more.  This is more of a highlight reel.

Captain America is Straight and Libertarian.  Deal with it.

Sorting pictures

December 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Photography, SmartPhones & PDAs, Technology 

I’ve been backing up my iPhone photos to my Windows 10 desktop using Microsoft’s OneDrive.  The photos are on my local drive as well as the cloud.  The downside is that all the photos, movies, and screen shots are dumped into a single directory, and there are a lot of them.

I prefer to have them sorted by date into directories.  A directory for each year, with sub-directories for each month.  I could do this by hand, but that’s a pain, and I have to remember to do it on a regular basis.  Plus I’ll probably want to do the same for my wife’s iPhone photos.  So I decided to write a python script to scan the camera roll directory, and copy the files to a directory in my photo archive section.  The scrip will create directories if needed and skip files that are already in place.

That part was pretty straight forward. I used os.chdir() to get to source directory and os.listdir() to get the directory contents.  Don’t want to create month directories for directories, just files, so I used os.path.isfile() to filter out non-files, and then check the file extension.  I only want jpg, mov, png, and tiff files.  I use Camera+ most of the time, which produces tiff files instead of jpg files. The png files are screenshots.

I used os.stat() to get the create time, and found files I exported to the camera roll from Camera plus had a create time of when they were exported, not the time the photo was taken. (Once I started having Camera+ dump straight to the camera roll, I didn’t have this problem).

So, I dug a little deeper and found I could get an image created time stamp with a getImageDate() call.  Downside was this didn’t work for png, tiff, or mov files.   So I had to do some extra sorting, and wrote another function to use on just the jpg files. I called the open() function from the Image library, and extracted the exif data using the _getexif() function. This works most of the time, so when it fails I had it return a ‘?’ rather than the time stamp string.  Seeing that caused a fall back to the getImageDate() function.

This extra call to the Image library made the placement of the files more accurate.  I had the base time function return the month as a three character string and the year as a 4 characters string.  This required some basic string manipulation. Those two parameters were added to predetermined destination and passed to a function I had written for another project that checks if directory exits, and creates it if it does not.

Next was to have the program check to see if the file already existed in the correct destination directory.  If it did, don’t bother copying it again. This will make the incremental runs faster and save on unneeded file transfers.

Now I have a functional script that I can set up to automatically run once a week.  Once the files are archived off OneDrive, I can removed them there and on the iPhone is order to free up space.

Originally posted to Urbin Technology.  I put the source code for the time stamp functions there.

Communist China hacks the US government

CYBER WAR PEARL HARBOR: OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S EXCUSES AND LIES ABOUT OPM HACK MELT AWAY

In case you missed extensive main stream media coverage of this story, here is a quick summary: “…the personal data of some four million federal employees who sought security clearances over the past 30 years had been compromised. Now the president of the American Federation of Government Employees, J. David Cox, has informed OPM in a letter that his organization believes “the Central Personnel Data File was the targeted database, and that the hackers are now in possession of all personnel data for every federal employee, every federal retiree, and up to one million former federal employees.””

In other words, the US got pwoned by hackers in the employ of the Communist Chinese government.

The United States is loosing the Cyberwar big time and our Dear Leader really doesn’t seem to care.

Update: The number of Americans who had their personal information stolen from the OPM now at 25.7 million.

Round Up Post

George Will responds to senators on his sexual assault column

From Wired, The Nightmare on Connected Home Street.  A look at how the future could be if we are not careful.

Obama Even Worse Than We Thought

Emails Show Lois Lerner Fed Confidential Tax Information, Database to FBI For Investigation Ahead of 2010 Midterms

Back in April, Judicial Watch released documents showing IRS officials, including former head of tax exempt groups Lois Lerner, discussing the possibility of bringing criminal charges against tea party groups for engaging in “political activity.” In fact, the documents showed Lerner wanted to make an example out of someone with charges in order to chill all of the groups in the tea party movement.

Monday Book Pick: A New American Space Plan

May 19, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Politics, Space Tech, Technology 

A New American Space Plan by Travis Taylor, Ringleader of the Rocket City Rednecks

NASA rocket scientist and self identified redneck, Travis Taylor, has a plan for getting America back into space.

Which is something America really needs right now, for many reason which Doctor Taylor lists in this book.  Here is one that he wrote about, and has come to pass.  The US currently has no method of getting Astronauts to the Space Station and back.   Our current President put the budget for the Orion program on life support.  I guess that is G.W. Bush’s fault, since the program started when he was President, so Barry felt he had to kill it.  His solution was to outsource American jobs to Russia.  In case you haven’t been paying attention, the US government pays Russia to get US Astronauts to the Space Station and back.  Now the Russian are saying Nyet to that.   It’s a good thing that the private sector is stepping up, but this is a problem we didn’t need to have.

Unlike this post, Travis Taylor’s book is mostly upbeat and positive.   It should also be read in American high school science classes.

Rocket City Rednecks

December 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Space Tech, Technology 

I discovered this show by reading one of Travis Talyor’s non-fiction books, A New American Space Plan.   While this post is about the TV show, pick up this book as well.  It’s a well laid out case of why American should be serious about getting into space again and how to do it.

Also take the time to watch the show, Rocket City Rednecks, either by streaming or on optical disk.   This show is about five self-identified Rednecks from Huntsville, AL, two of which are actual rocket scientists from NASA who actually build working gear.  Really cool gear that works.  OK, it works most of the time, but even when they fail, they learn from their mistakes so then can do it better the next time.  That is really one of the important lessons.  It’s OK to fail, as long as you learn from it.   Most of the gear is built in Travis’ father’s garage.   Charles Travis is a retired NASA machinist who worked on the Apollo program, and one of the five Rednecks who star in the show.

I’ve watched about a third of the first season so far, and they have built some really nifty gear so far.  These include a still in order to build a moonshine fueled rocket, the actual rocket, a balloon based observation platform, a working submarine, a radio telescope array using 18″ satellite dishes, under vehicle armor capable of withstanding an IED blast (they drove the pickup truck away afterwards), and a working “Iron Man” suit, that had armor capable of  stopping 9mm handgun rounds, lifting over 100 pounds with a single arm and fired rockets!

Just to add to the overall coolness of this, most of their projects are done over a single weekend with a budget of about $1000.  Keep in mind that three of these Rednecks are current or former NASA employees.  The two active ones have eight advanced degrees in science between them (Travis has five post-graduate degrees.  For those of you who know me, yes, that is one more than Amy currently has).  Rog (Rednect #4) doesn’t have any advanced degrees, but he does have a genius level IQ, and Michael (Travis’ nephew) is mechanically inclined and studying to be a machinist.   Still, if you know basic work working, basic welding, how to solder two wires together, and some basic programming, you and your friends could try some of this stuff.

Which is kinda the whole idea of the show.  To get kids off the XBox and out there building go carts, rockets, radio sets and other cool gear.

This is the kind of show my dad would have loved.  He was 22 year veteran of the Army Corps of Engineers, and would have been out teaching kids how to to build the things the Rednecks are building.

Originally published at Urbin Technology

Another tech bubble in the making?

November 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: economy, Internet, Technology 

Michael Synder makes the following salient point over at Zero Hedge:

Shouldn’t Internet companies actually “make a profit” at some point before being considered worth billions of dollars?  A lot of investors laugh when they look back at the foolishness of the “Dotcom bubble” of the late 1990s, but the tech bubble that is inflating right in front of our eyes today is actually far worse.

For example, what would you say if I told you that a seven-year-old company that has a long history of not being profitable and that actually lost 64 million dollars last quarter is worth more than 13 billion dollars?

You would probably say that I was insane, but the company that I have just described is Twitter and Wall Street is going crazy for it right now.  Please don’t get me wrong – I actually love Twitter.  On my Twitter account I have sent out thousands of “tweets”.  Twitter is a lot of fun, and it has had a huge impact on the entire planet.  But is it worth 13 billion dollars?  Of course not.

You can talk about “brand value” all you want, but the companies with actual Brand Value are ones that are profitable, and have been for a long time.  That is what makes their brand valuable.  Twitter’s value is in improving someone else’s brand value, and trying to squeeze a profit out of that could kill the value that people currently see in Twitter.

3D Printer Update

March 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Gear, RKBA, Technology 

Last time I went on about 3D Printers was back in October 2008.  Time for an update.

There are more options out there than the RepRapEngadet has a “consumers guide” to 3D printers.

What I found interesting is that there are some sub $1,000 models.  Granted, most of those are Kickstarter projects, but it shows that these things are getting some traction in the geek hobby market.

That expanding base also means a greater number of programmed designs as people share their experiments.

One that is sure to cause a stir is Defense Distributed’s plan to design a 3D printable firearm.  They have designed, and printed an AR-15 lower.  They have put over 600 rounds though a firearm using that printed lower in a single day.  They claim that it should be able to handle a 1,000 rounds.

The AR-15 was a good choice.  It is one of the most popular civilian firearms in the US, and as Gun Geeks will tell you, it’s the general purpose PC of firearms.   It is very modular, with the ability to change stocks and uppers easily. It also has a large market of add on accessories, including pink plastic parts for the female (or male who just likes pink) shooters.

The inter-changeable upper (which includes the barrel) is key.  You can convert your .223 AR-15 to 5.55mm NATO, .308 Winchester, .22 LR or even .50 Beowulf.  All the same firearm by current US regulations.

On the lower end of the 3D printing scale, is the EDoodler.  A hand held devices that extrudes a steam of heated material that you can create whole pieces or parts of a larger object.  This is another Kickstarter project which blew past its original goal of $30,000  pretty fast.  They have pledges of over $2 million and still have three weeks to go for fundraising.

Going even lower end, you have InstaMorph.  I know people who swear by this stuff for really Q&D projects.  You heat the stuff up and then are able to mold it.  When it cools, it hardens.  Kinda like a gateway drug for 3D printing.

Originally posted at Urbin Technology

Update: Just how versatile is the AR-15 you ask, here is an upper designed for black powder use! There is even a crossbow upper.

Another reason to not spend time on Facebook

January 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Internet, Technology 

Leo Leporte reports that Facebook has added a new “Feature”.  Automatically uploading your mobile device photos to Facebook.

That’s right, all your photos, straight to Facebook.

If you were paying attention to the “user agreement”, Facebook reserves the right to use everything you load on it, including pictures, anyway they see fit.

That Facebook gets the right to use your stuff is nothing new.  Been that way since just about Day One, if not before.

Here is a basic rule of the Internet you Coppertops need to understand.

If you aren’t paying for the service, you are the product.

Originally posted at Urbin Technology

Quote of the Day

“Is it gonna go to where the astronauts planted the flag?”

Texas democrat and member of the US House of Representatives, Sheila Jackson Lee while being shown video of the Curiosity rover on Mars during a visit to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

I was going to post this without comment, but frag it, statements that stupid deserve comment.

The democrat from Texas, representing the district the Johnson Space Center is in, is so bloody ignorant of not so distant American history, that she doesn’t know that in 1969, Americans walked on Earth’s moon, not Mars.

This is beyond the level of ignorance so called “tolerant” liberals accuse Republicans in their fantasies.  If anyone with a “R” behind their name, every news talking head would be leading their broadcast and the propagandists at NBC “News” would special graphic and running it constantly.

Since the Congressperson in question is a far left extremist liberal democrat, you can count on hearing crickets chirping before CNN runs this.

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