Author: Derek

Monday Links

Okay, we’re going to do the usual and start with Reason links.

As I’m sure you’ve heard, Diane Feinstein passed away last week. While I will extend my condolences to her friends and family, I won’t pretend to be horribly upset. And Reason encapsulates why.

Khan’s FTC is going after Amazon. I had a piece in here earlier this year that the FTC chairman/person/annoyance really doesn’t understand how online retail works – and it seems anything she doesn’t understand is bad.

And the FCC is going to reimpose net neutrality because reasons. Because it isn’t like they’ve had anything but hypotheticals to explain why it’s needed. Hey FCC, you want to fix things? Start fixing these stupid franchises localities make with internet companies to limit competition.

On to other things…

The New Yorker has an interesting think piece on someone learning about guns to write on guns.

The Brits had to temporarily mobilize part of their Army when a bunch of their weapons-qualified police officers refused to pick up weapons. Why? One of their own is facing charges after a shooting. The officers have since returned to their duties. I don’t know enough about the case to decide if the shooting was justified or not. But it was an interesting turn of events.

Light item alert!

Someone’s making amphibious campers that resemble Star Trek TOS shuttles.

Smart Home Travails

I understand the concerns about having a lot of “smart” devices in the home. The denizens of Ward Manor have decided the benefits outweigh the risks/costs. We try to have some dumb stuff available if the internet goes down.

One thing we have a bunch of are Kasa smart plugs. Also, the carriage lights are also Kasa. Normally, they’re used mostly when the Christmas decorations go up so we can use routines for turning lights on and off. But we do have a couple of “daily use” items on the plugs. For the second time, all of these stopped talking to the network. The only remedy I’ve found is rebooting the router. Which impacts everything else. So, it’s finding a five minute period no one is needing any other smart item to reboot. Then, there’s the worry as the router comes back up that something is going wrong.

These are the times I want to rip everything out. Which generally goes away after a week as I see the benefits of my various devices.

Exo Squad +30

Last week was the thirtieth anniversary of the debut of the cartoon series “Exo Squad.” It’s probably one of the better mecha cartoon series – particularly considering when it debuted and the fact it was aimed at the American market. It echoed a lot of the themes explored in Robotech. I loved the series.

Of course, it wasn’t without controversy. I linked to this video before, but I think it’s a good one to repeat.

And of course, here’s the intro!

Last note. I watched it when it debuted, but I really got into it about fifteen years later when I was doing a lot of travel. I was scrounging on my computer and found it on this then-new site called Hulu.

Monday Links

Let’s start off with a story of local significance.

Last week, the local baseball franchise managed to wrangle themselves a new stadium out of St. Petersburg. Reason has an article explaining why that’s a bad idea.

Moving on to some presidential actions.

Reason has an article on the administration streamlining the rules to allow migrants from some countries to work. I imagine catching heat from New York and Chicago is lighting a fire on the issue.

Something to placate the environmentalists, Biden announced establishing a Climate Change Corps. I guess he’s trying to soothe that faction with the “romanticism” of the New Deal.

And to placate the gun prohibitionists, Biden announced a new Office of Gun Violence Prevention. It sounds like a good way to give government largesse to lobbyists and activists.

But Biden needs some wins on the gun issue – particularly as courts continue to strike down laws under the Bruen Text History Tradition test. This time, Cali’s magazine ban was struck down – again. Maybe it will stay dead when the case goes en banc.

Now, on to something completely different.

The Wirecutter is pulling their recommendation for Wyze cameras after the company’s blasé attitude to a security breach that allowed customers to see others’ camera feeds.

Time for the light item.

Here’s an article discussing how the American dialect diverged from the mother tongue.

More Ward Manor Happenings

Well, in just over a year, the Ward Wagon is paid off. Last week, we sent off the payoff check to the bank. This is a good thing as there is a chance we might be in the market for a second vehicle.

Speaking of the new job, we are in a holding pattern. I know I made it on to the list of qualified candidates (according to HR), but we are waiting to hear about interviews. Since it’s also getting to the end of the fiscal year for the federal government – and the job is under the finance chief – that may delay things. One of my colleagues tried to cheer me up by reminding me that I’m in such a niche job, I may be the only qualified candidate and I’m just waiting to hear back from HR. This is not nearly as comforting as it introduced another outcome that is entirely on dependent on HR’s ability to communicate. And I’m not all that trusting of their ability to communicate.

Last weekend, The Wife and I went down and did our TSA Pre-Check stuff. Even if I don’t get the new position, I’m looking at flying at least twice in the next year. Not having to do the unloading of all the electronics I normally carry is worth the cost of time and money. The Wife I was surprised that I was fine with getting fingerprinted and my picture taken. Hell, I’ve had to do that with my CWP and my job. While I dislike the whole concept, it’s not like I’m avoiding being in a database somewhere. The location was interesting – a cubicle inside a Staples. At least it wasn’t a federal building, which means I didn’t need to change my EDC. I’m also really good at doing a “neutral face” for official pictures. And apparently you just get a code you get to enter when making plane reservations. Now to find out if my booking software at work will take the code.

Liberty Safes Debacle

So, first for some throat-clearing. I’ve purchased both of my big gun safes from Liberty. My current one doesn’t have one of those fancy electronic locks after multiple people I trust recommended going with an analog dial lock. Which made the salesperson give me Spock eyebrow. I also help my mom purchase one of their portable handgun safes. All in all, I’ve been satisfied with their quality. Which makes this so infuriating. But, probably not for the reason you think.

In case you missed it, Liberty Safe got themselves squarely in the crosshairs of the enraged. TLDR; FBI was executing search warrant of someone accused of being a January 6 rioter. FBI got Liberty Safe to hand over a super-secret default code for one of their safes at the accused’s home. Cross section of MAGA, FBI distrust, and compliant company that caters to the gun world results in calls for Liberty Safes to be boycotted. If there’s one thing the gun world likes to do, it’s hold a grudge against a company that’s wronged them. There are still people who refuse to buy Ruger or Smith & Wesson over things that happened almost thirty years ago. I still refuse to shop at Dicks for something that happened a decade ago.

Liberty Safe said it was in pursuant to a valid warrant. Okay, not great, but Liberty is not Apple. They don’t have the legal resources to tell the Feds to go pound sand while they fight a warrant in court. Here’s the rub IMHO. Locksmiths have been saying that Liberty has denied for years that such a code exists. Rather than handing it out or even charging for access to it, they’ve been forcing customers to drill out non-working electronic locks (or locks where they forgot their passcode). That’s not how you deliver on a reputation for customer service.

I don’t call for boycotts. I hate the whole demanding that companies take stances instead of delivering products. I will, however, state that this kind of customer service should be taken into account. Will I ever buy a Liberty safe again? I don’t know. It’s not like I expect to be in the market anytime soon. We shall see how events unfold.