My Day


201406191002ZSomehow, I feel that those good wishes from the Cabin Boy™ are sarcasm, but I did have a good day working with the GOES-R Project today. Most of my time was spent mentoring an engineering co-op student who was laying out his first circuit board. Passing on such skills one-on-one is something I find very satisfying.

Not everyone working on the GOES-R program is aware the legal wrangling that takes up part of my spare time, but many of my colleagues read this blog or have heard stories told around the Keurig. Those stories have been the source of much head shaking and laughter.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


This is from paragraph 279 of The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin’s proposed second amended complaint for his Kimberlin v. The Universe, et al. RICO Madness.ECF 100-279I agree that no one should be cyberbullied, but I’d suggest that what has happened to Brett Kimberlin over the past couple of years is better classified as pushback.

Of course, his line about not mentioning 30+ year old crimes is nonsense. Many infamous criminals committed some of their crimes over 30 years ago, but that’s not a reason torefrain from writing about the likes of Ted Kazcynski (the Unabomber) or the Speedway Bomber.

A Very Stupid “Smart Gun”


A German company called Armatix is trying to peddle a very stupidly designed “smart gun.” It’s a small .22 caliber pistol of the sort that might be useful for plinking at tin cans but is underpowered for any serious self-defense application. Strike one.

iP1The gun uses RFID technology to enable operation. The user must have a companion wrist watch, and the watch must be within 10 inches of the pistol in order for it to be fired.

As soon as the gun loses radio contact with the watch – e.g. if it is knocked out of the shooter’s hand or in case of loss, theft, etc. – it automatically deactivates itself.

Since most of us wear our watches on the left wrist, the pistol would have to be fired from the left hand (as shown in the Armatix picture above) or using a two-handed grip. While that wouldn’t be a problem for me, I’m ambidextrous, it’s could be a real issue for the roughly 90% of shooters who are right-handed and might not have both hands free in a self-defense situation. Strike two.

Using RFID means that the gun could be subject to jamming—and I don’t mean failure to feed the next round. Strike three.

I’ll believe that “smart guns” are a good idea when the security details of the politicians who want to force them on the public are carrying them—and no conventional firearms for backup.

Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign


Johnny Atsign Logo 2ANNOUNCER: From Westminster, it’s time for—

SOUND: Skype rings once.

JOHNNY: Johnny Atsign.

COUSY: (Telephone Filter) Hello, Mr. Atsign. My name is Bob Cousy.

JOHNNY: Not *The* Bob Cousy who played for the Celtics. I’m a fan.

COUSY: No. Just *A* Bob Cousy. I hadn’t been born when that Bob Cousy was playing point guard. I’m calling about The Grouch.

JOHNNY: What about him?

COUSY: This has come out left field … sorry to mix my sports metaphors … but he’s suddenly started harassing my wife and me. And our baby.

JOHNNY: So why are you calling me?

COUSY: I’m told you might be helpful.

JOHNNY: Perhaps. Tell me your story.

MUSIC: Theme up and under.

ANNOUNCER: The Lickspittle Broadcasting System presents W. J. J. Hoge in the transcribed adventures of the man with the action-packed Twitter account, America’s fabulous free-lance Internet investigator …

JOHNNY: Yours Truly, Johnny Asign!

MUSIC: Theme up to music out. Continue reading

Prevarication Du Jour


The Cabin Boy™ keeps up his whining about the lack of intersection between his narrative and the real world in a post at Patriot-Ombudsman (No, I won’t link to it.) called Powerless in Howard County. He includes the following comment about me.P-O20140327What I do ain’t rocket science. It’s applied quantum mechanics.

“Rocket science” involves simple Newtonian physics. Quantum mechanics is a much more sophisticated discipline, and the suggestion that I am employed doing less advanced work borders on defamation.

#BrettKimberlin’s Amended Copyright Complaint


The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin has submitted an amended complaint to the court in his Kimberlin v. Kimberlin Unmasked nuisance copyright suit. Here is the marked up version which highlights the changes.

There are several fatal errors in this complaint. I am disabling comments on this post to prevent anyone from providing unintended help to TDPK.

Pi Day?


Many people consider 14 March to be Pi Day because the insist on using the illogical order of month/day/year for dating and render today’s date as 3.14. If they were to use the more logical order of day/month/year, they would realize that 22 July (22/7) should be Pi Day.

22/7 is a closer approximation of π than 3.14.

UPDATE—Pie_Chart

Quote of the Day


Simplicity is not the absence of clutter, that’s a consequence of simplicity. Simplicity is somehow essentially describing the purpose and place of an object and product. The absence of clutter is just a clutter-free product. That’s not simple.

—Jonathan Ive

Back in the Saddle Again


This evening I agreed to go back to work full-time for a while. I was enjoying my semi-retirement, but my former colleagues working on the GOES-R program have persuaded me to rejoin them. I’ll begin on Monday at Goddard Space Flight Center.

GOES-R is the first of the next generation of weather satellites.

Video Credit: NOAA / NASA

Prevarication Du Jour


Xenophon the Troll is channeling the Amazingly Inaccurate Criswell again over at Breitbart Unmasked (No, I won’t link to it.) This time the nonsense has to do to with First Mate Neal Rauhauser’s attempt to gen up some sort of connection between the Kimberlin Unmasked identity and a real person.BU20140127That’s an ambitious undertaking—foolhardy, because there’s nothing to find—but it’s ambitious. You see, Team Kimberlin has already run afoul of the GIGO principle: garbage in, garbage out.

OK, what do I mean by garbage in? Consider these bits of data:forgedTwitterIPThe account_id is the correct one for @Kimberlinunmask. However, the login time is on 24 December, 2013. The @Kimberlinumask account was suspended on that day, and it’s not possible to login to a gulaged account.

While it’s not quite as obviously stupid a submitting two versions of the same document to the same court in the same case or as mind-bogglingly crude as failing to remove a PACER legend and using the wrong typeface to create a do-it-yourself court summons, it is … well … it’s kinda amateurish.

#Garbage_Out

Obamacare Website Security NOT


Reuters is reporting that the government has failed to implement critical security fixes on the healthcare dot gov website.

David Kennedy, head of computer security consulting firm TrustedSec LLC, told Reuters that the government has yet to plug more than 20 vulnerabilities that he and other security experts reported to the government shortly after HealthCare.gov went live on October 1.

Hackers could steal personal information, modify data or attack the personal computers of the website’s users, he said. They could also damage the infrastructure of the site, according to Kennedy, who is scheduled to describe his security concerns in testimony on Thursday before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

Read the whole thing, and let it burn.

The Pity Party


Having seen in the comments and on the Twiterz that the Cabin Boy had signed off on his Internet radio feeds, I took a look at his Twitter timeline and found this:dc201401131959ZBullshit! Just because confident individuals such as Stacy McCain or Aaron Walker don’t have to spend their time bragging about the multiple things good things they’ve done does not mean that they haven’t done them. Perhaps they are following Jesus’s admonition not to advertise their good works.

The Cabin Boy brags about being part of an experimental surgery group. Well, good for him! One of these days, I might tell you about the experimental heart surgery that I volunteered for. But not today. Not in this context.

About That Deadline …


Healthcare_gov_MacOSXAs of 9 pm ET on 30 November, the day that the Obamacare website was supposed to be “fixed,” the healthcare dot gov site says that it does not support the current version of Mac OSX.

Of course, OS 10.9 has only been in public release for five weeks, but incremental developer releases have been available for testing since June.

It’s interesting that the site claims to support Windows XP which was withdrawn from sale in 2009 and for which Microsoft will end support early next year, but says nothing about support for iOS (iPhone/Pad) or Android systems. I wonder what percentage of users under 30 years old will try to access the site with a mobile device?

Let it burn.

Obamacare 0.997


The version of Obamacare that was rolled out on 1 October was clearly not ready for prime time. It wasn’t even ready for beta release. It was simply a failure.

Good engineers design for failure. That’s not to say that we (I’m an engineer) design products to fail, but we know that they will. That’s why the load panel in your house has circuit breakers. In the real world, failure is always an option, and it becomes exponentially more likely when a project is managed by someone who doesn’t understand the endeavor’s practical constraints. Clay Shirky offers an analysis of the probable managerially-driven problems with Obamacare here.

Recently, much has been made about the Administration’s ignoring the law when dealing with Obamacare and any possible workarounds for its present problems, and it’s true that those responsible for the current mess have acted lawlessly. However, the law that will do the project in was not passed by Congress. It stems from a higher authority. Those who ignore it are fools.

If anything can go wrong, it will.

—Murphy

Let it burn.

UPDATE—This insightful observation is also on point:

Everything the government touches turns to crap.

—Ringo Starr