The Best Smartphone you can buy.*


My wife has an Apple iPhone 6, both daughters have iPhone 5s’s and my son has a Samsung Galaxy 5.

I, on the Gripping Hand, have a Huawei Model Y536A1, that I bought at Walmart and feed monthly through AT&T.

The actual specifications do not, at first glance, seem all that world shaking, and the built-in camera is in no way as good as the camera in my wife’s iPhone, but it is adequate.  However the phone cost only me $60.

Not $60 every other month for 2 years and not $23.95 a month for 2 years.  No. It. Cost. Me. $60.  Once.

Oh and have I mentioned that since it only cost me $60 I don’t have an insurance contract for it?  That saves me another $5 -$10 a month, or $60 – $120 a year.  Hell I could throw it away ever 3 months and buy a new replacement and it would be still be cheaper at the end of 2 years then any of the phones my family has.

How does it work? I hear you ask.

Quite well.  It makes and receives phone calls very nicely.  I can send and receive texts** as well as any other phone.  It takes adequate photos for documenting things at work.  All this, plus notes, calendar, a stop watch/alarm clock, a music player (the first thing I did was put a 16GB MicroSD card in it, it will handle up to a 32GB and I don’t discount its ability to handle larger), a book reader, Spider Solitaire and any other App that I want to download from the Google Store.  Along with all the above it has a battery that will go 3+ days with moderate use plus unlimited text and talk in North America for $30 a month.

Only text and talk, for me thank you very much. 4G data is available but do I look fucking retarded enough to pay an additional $10 a month for 1.5GB of data or an extra $25 a month for 4GB (both of those prices include a $5 a month discount for signing up for “Auto Refill”)?  Don’t answer that.
The answer is no, I’m not that stupid, wireless works quite well around civilization and away from civilization I don’t care.

Have I mentioned that I only paid $60 for it?  Have I also mentioned that after I own it for 6 months AT&T will send me the key to root privileges on it.  I should mention that it came preloaded with a bunch of crap software on it.  Root privileges should enable me to take care of that.

So what is the perfect “SmartPhone”.  Dammed if I know but I think I’m on the right tack.

  1. Be a good phone
  2. Have root capability.
  3. Be small.
  4. Have a long battery life.
  5. Be a good camera.
  6. Have the ability to take a large MicroSD card.
  7. Have no apps preinstalled,  only the ability to get to the Google Store*** and download the apps and only the apps I / you want.
  8. Have wireless capability.
  9. Have GPS, and the ability to turn it off.
  10. Have very GOOD encryption.
  11. 4G capability for those who need it.
  12. Cost less then $200
  13. Be water proof.
  14. No contract needed.

You find me all that and I’ll drop my Huawei, other wise I’m sticking to it.

Have I mentioned that it only cost me $60?

1)  I’m not convinced that the word “Best” should ever be applied to a Smartphone and
2)  I’m not to sure about the use of the word “Smart” in Smartphone.

** Dammit all, I hate texts and texting.  Think about it, typing things out on a miniature keyboard is SO much more efficient then actually talking to someone, it is truly amazing that it took us, as a species, so long to figure that out.

*** I’m not that fond of the Google Store and Google itself, but it’s better then dealing with Apple.

Posted in Life/living | Leave a comment

Windows 10

I did my “Free” upgrade to “Windows Hello Kitty” aka Windows 10 last night.

I made sure all Windows 7 updates were done did a backup and told the PC to go ahead.

It seemed to boot fast and seemed to have all my programs and settings.  Well except for my Printer Driver and Video Card.  Too bad it looks like a version of Windows designed for 8 year olds.  In fact I’ve had more then one person tell me that screen looked like an XBox with the large clunky icons.

Once I got the right video driver installed it actually seemed like a pretty responsive OS and in fact, someday I might (or might not) go back to it.

Until then it’s nice to know that Macrium Reflect restored the image I’d made the night before (I told you I did a backup) in under 10 minutes.

Maybe I’ll download one of the newer Linux Distros and give that a try.  Something about Windows HK just gives me the creeps.

Posted in Life/living | Leave a comment

Down to the old bridge and back.

Monika and I had wanted to walk down to the old bridge over Melones ever since it started emerging a couple of weeks ago.  Last Saturday (the 4th) we did,  however talking a 14 year old into going with us, early, was not easy.  Be that as it may, Kat agreed to get up at the ungodly hour of 0645, on a Saturday, in summer, and go with us.

In fact we got out the door a little after 7 and actually started the hike about 7:15 – 7:20. Given the temperatures that weekend I would not have been upset if we had left the house at 6 and started the hike at 6:15.

It is actually a pretty easy hike down and back, the road is pretty much intact for most of the way down, on the Tuolumne County side, at least.  I’m very sure that I would not take our van down, but my old 2 wheel drive Pickup would have no problems.

Natures way of saying

Still a pretty good way above the high water



Katarina decided that this is natures way of telling mankind to “F” Off.

I’d have to say she was right.







On the way Down


Just about to the high water mark and a nice view of the new bridge.






Moon set over the new bridge.   A composite of 3 or 4 different photos.


Microsoft’s ICE was used to create the composite photo.
The Old Bridge


First sighting of the old bridge from the trail/road  on the way down.





New from the Old
Standing on the old bridge and looking at the new bridge.


BothBridgesNew and Old bridges.

RileyRiley looking sort of Rileyish.

It's Hot


It was  hot.  Riley kept trying to get to the water and going knee deep into the mud.

I think by the time we climbed back up to the car is was mid 90’s and only 10:45 or so.











20 plus years of being under water.







Someone found it necessary to drive/push this car off the road and into the lake, and shoot it 19 times by Katarina’s count.



TheOldCar 2


It was a pretty nice car at one time.






Monika and I plan on making at least one more trip down towards the end of summer.  Just to see how low the water gets.  All in all it is a pretty nice hike, just plan on going early in the morning to beat the heat, take water and look out for rattlesnakes.

Posted in Country Living, Walking/Hiking | Leave a comment


Currently it seems that they are fairly determined to prove Margaret Thatcher right.

“The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money” — Margaret Thatcher

Actually she seems to have said.

Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic of them.

Here’s looking at you obama, and BOTH Houses of Congress.

Posted in Politics | Leave a comment

I want this.

Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle

I don’t need it, but I want one. Big 5 has them for $819…. add 8% and $30-35 to the state and I’d be looking at $900 to $920 out the door and it would still have a barrel 2″ too short and a very expensive mag setup.

Not quite a true “Scout Rifle” but close.  From “The Steyr Scout Rifle Page

By the definition of the Scout Rifle Conferences held under the auspices of Jeff Cooper the scout rifle has been defined as a general purpose rifle suitable for taking targets of up to 400 kg (880 pounds) at ranges to the limit of the shooters visibility (nominally 300 meters) that meets the following criteria:

Weight-sighted and slung: 3 kilograms (6.6 lb). This has been set as the ideal weight but the maximum has been stated as being 3.5 kg (7.7 pounds ).
Length: 1 meter (39 inches)
Nominal barrel length: .48 meter (19 inches)
Sighting system: Typically a forward and low mounted (ahead of the action opening) long eye relief telescope of between 2x and 3x. Reserve iron sights desirable but not necessary.  Iron sights of the ghost ring type, without a scope, also qualify, as does a low powered conventional position scope.
Action: Magazine fed bolt action. Detachable box magazine and/or stripper clip charging is desirable but not necessary.
Sling: Fast loop-up type, i.e. Ching or CW style.
Caliber: Nominally .308 Winchester (7.62 x 51 mm). Calibers such as 7 mm – 08 Remington (7 x 51 mm) or .243 Winchester (6 x 51 mm) being considered for frail individuals or where “military” calibers are proscribed.
Built-in bipod: Desirable but not mandatory.
Accuracy: Should be capable of shooting into 2 minutes of angle or less (4″) at 200 yards/meters (3 shot groups).

Well I have a couple of spare Yugo M.24/47’s and LOTS of surplus 8×57 ammo. As well as reloading dies and bullet molds for them.

Depending on the shape of the crown, I could pay to have the barrel shortened a half inch or so but it would not be critical.

Then install a XS sight Systems, Inc. scope mount for $60

and get a Leupold Scout Scope for it ($299).

Being a oddball length receiver, pretty much means that I can’t get a Glass Stock for it so I’d get a Boyds stock for it ($100)

So far I’d be about $460 – $500 into (adding shipping costs).

I could bed it myself (sort of) and the scope base is also a “User installable item” but I would want it refinished.  Either Parkerized ($) or painted (cheap, tacky and functional.  $20 for paint).

So there it is, I could do it, but I’d be into a “P-Scout” $550 – $700+ at best.

Or I could sell a couple of Yugo 24/47s and maybe a Spanish FR-8 and just buy the damn Ruger, oops… I forgot to add the price of the scope to the Ruger.  $920 + $300 = $1,220

Dang, that makes the P-Scout look better and better.

Posted in Firearms, Rifles | Leave a comment

Range trip #21 (maybe 22, but lets call it 21)

I met a retired co-worker and his girl friend at the range yesterday during lunch.  I shot my Pro Carry and the Smith 642 with a brief side trip to the SA XD.  I also shot a clip or two from RS’s Kimber CDP.  Cute, small and pretty light for 45acp.  However, I’ll stick to my Pro Carry, I shoot it better.

The reason for the trip was simple, RS’s girl friend needed/wanted to shoot at least once before renewing her CCW.

It was due in about two months and she had not shot since getting it in the first place 2 years ago.  That’s all sorts of wrong.

Posted in Firearms, Pistols, Shooting | Leave a comment

And they try and call this a “Recovery”?

Try this.

If you like topline numbers, you’ll like the June jobs report, issued a day early because of the Independence Day headline. The US economy added 223,000 jobs in June, a respectable if unspectacular level of job growth that outpaces population growth, and the U-3 jobless rate dropped to 5.3%. It’s when one looks past the topline numbers that the problems emerge — chief among them the fact that almost twice as many people left the workforce as found jobs:

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in June, and the unemployment rate declined to 5.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, retail trade, financial activities, and in transportation and warehousing.


The civilian labor force declined by 432,000 in June, following an increase of similar magnitude in May. The labor force participation rate declined by 0.3 percentage point to 62.6 percent in June. The employment-population ratio, at 59.3 percent, was essentially unchanged in June and has shown little movement thus far this year.

The new workforce participation rate is the lowest in the US since 1977. The reason that the U-3 measure dropped to 5.3% is because of the exodus from the workforce. On top of that, the BLS revised its job-growth estimates in April and May by a combined 60,000, making the entire spring look less robust than first thought — and it wasn’t that robust in the first place. The U-6 rate, considered a more complete look at unemployment, did fall to 10.5%, the lowest since July 2008.

Just for a start.  Read the whole article and then read the official report.

Just for giggles

From August 2015.

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A “Tolerant Leftist”

George Takei calls Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas a “clown in blackface”.

It’s a good thing George is not a white*, straight Republican.  If he was he would be considered a little hate filled pustule on the ass of humanity, and publicly destroyed/scorned.

But since he is a Leftist-Gay, he will get a pass.

*Actually I rather doubt that his race enters into this.

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Answer: Pretty damn stupid.

Question:  How stupid do you have to be to NOT understand that this is a bad idea.

HONG KONG — A 20-year-old woman who suffered severe burns in an explosion at a water park in Taiwan died on Monday, a hospital official said.

She was the first fatality from the blast on Saturday in New Taipei City that left hundreds of people injured, with more than 200 still in intensive care on Monday, according to the Taiwanese Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Investigators say they believe that colored powder sprayed over a crowd at an event ignited, setting off a fireball that burned 499 people. The total number of injured was revised from the more than 500 reported on Sunday because of double counting, according to the ministry.

The colored powder in question?

The event organizers said on their Facebook page that they used a mixture of cornstarch and food coloring to make the powder. They prepared as much as three tons of it, which may have been ignited by a cigarette, lighting, sound equipment or another electrical device, the Central News Agency of Taiwan quoted the deputy mayor of New Taipei, Hou Yu-ih, as saying.

I think I was 7 or maybe 8 the first time I heard about Grain Elevator, or Silo, explosions.  I think I immediately tried to blow up a half-cup of flour by sticking a lit match in it.  What can I say, I was 7 or 8 years old (I don’t think I made my first batch of black powder until I was 13 or 14), I think Dad explained to me that the flour needed to be suspended in the air for it to explode.

The comment @ 10:59AM, June 29th at Althouse on this “Event” is worth reading, if only because I immediately tried to think of a safe way to test it (on a stump, in the woods in winter came to mind).


Posted in Life/living | 1 Comment

That actually explains a lot.

Pope Francis may or may not chew on coca leaves – the raw ingredient that is used to make cocaine – during an upcoming trip to Bolivia. But the Argentinian pontiff is definitely keeping all of his options open.

I had hopes for this one.  I’m not sure why, but I did.

No longer.

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