April 29, 2005

First one's free...

Xerox, that former flagship of tech innovation, is moving to a drug-dealer model to sell more ink. FreeColorPrinters.com gives away a free color printer as long as you print 4 or more reams of paper a month.

The catch is that you have to print at least as much as you say you will, and you have to buy all your ink and supplies from FreeColorPrinters.com.

I wonder if paper mills like Louisiana Pacific or Boise Cascade wanted to get in on this deal.

Next thing you know, Exxon will be giving away Escalades so that you'll use up more gasoline...

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April 26, 2005

Reading List Thus Far

Finished listening to the audiobook version of Michael Crichton's Prey. Funny how it degenerated into the time-honored "person possessed by demon" story. Was it Joseph Campbell who collected all of the possible story archetypes? Shakespeare?

Nevertheless, it was entertaining. And Crichton is pretty good about making all that tech stuff sound believable.

Currently reading, again on audiobook: Fire Ice by Clive Cussler. The Dirk Pitt series are fun, especially with his bachelor pad with the garage full of classic vintage cars. Dan Tana anyone? This is the first of the Kurt Austin series I've sampled thus far.

One thing that irks me is the choice of firearms for lead character Kurt Austin. A Bowen custom Ruger Redhawk? I guess the S&W M29 has already been done to death. And the Desert Eagle is a cliche as well.

At least Cussler doesn't have Austin affixing a "silencer" to the big Redhawk--at least not yet...

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April 25, 2005

Return of the Yawara

I'm starting to see a renaissance in "pocket stick" weapons, particularly yawara sticks made from hard polymers. This may be in response to the post-9/11 world where metal detectors are everywhere, and non-ferrous (well, of course, they're plastic) yawaras can be carried anywhere.

First up was Kelly Worden's Impact Kerambit, which has branched out from the original plain black into a whole spectrum of vivid fashion colors:

photo of 4 Impact Kerambit weapons in various colors

Now there's Cold Steel's Koga SD1, which is more along the lines of the classic Yawara/"Judo Stick" concept from the 1940s-1950s. You can actually buy this from Amazon.com now:

photo of Koga SD1 yawara stick

The PS5 folks in the UK have a new one too, similar to the Koga in construction and overall size, but with some nasty looking points (not totally sharp, about 1mm in diameter at the tips).

I would think that most of these would have the same issues as the yawaras from fifty years ago, that a sharp blow to a sensitive spot (like the temple) could kill a person. That's true with any weapon, even an improvised one like a stout writing pen, but these are intended for control use, and if the operator isn't trained in things like the wrist pain control (promoted by Kubota and Hatsumi) they'd quickly resort to blows with the tips.

One thing about these (and any other less-lethal weapon) that really requires practice is the transition from less-lethal to lethal weapon. Let's say you're using a pain compliance hold on some jerkoff. Turns out he's impervious to the pain on his wristbone/pressure point and he pulls a knife. But your yawara is clamped in a death grip in your gun hand.

You need to drop the yawara, draw your sidearm, and give the perp some lead poisoning pronto, all without getting sliced up or shooting yourself. Simunitions would probably be the best way to practice this.

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April 21, 2005

Using Spray Adhesive at the Gun Range

Picked up this idea from Tactical Response magazine:

If you use white paper plates as targets at the gun range, just use spray adhesive to stick new ones on over your shot-out plates.

I hadn't thought of this idea. I usually just use a staple gun (the hardcore shooters at the range use hammer tackers -- just a bit faster, so they're back on the line before I'm done stapling). Would spray adhesive work better? Hard to say, esp. with the wind that we get at our outdoor facility.

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April 10, 2005

316 Wallet Essentials

Just came across the line of stainless steel card accessories sold at TouchofGinger.com. They tout these as "316 Wallet Essentials". I was a bit disappointed to see only 17 on the catalog page. Where are the other 299?

Photo of credit card wrenchPhoto of folding pocket dice
Photo of ball markers with biohazard symbolsPhoto of wallet comb

Too bad DeLorean's car didn't catch on back in the 80s--he jumped on the stainless steel craze (check out all those refrigerators!!!) way too early.

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April 05, 2005

Scenario Planning

A colleague asked me about references to Scenario Planning. I dredged up what I remembered from years ago and pointed him to some references--posting here so I can call 'em up easier later.

* * *

Scenario planning comes from political types and the oil industry, of all places. The text I read when we were trying to sell facilitated planning sessions was pretty good:

Schwartz's The Art of the Long View

There are some other books that I've heard are good but I haven't read them:

Van der Heijden's Scenarios: The Art of Strategic Conversation

I actually have this book somewhere but they're buried under a ton of junk in my garage.

Lindgren's Scenario Planning: The Link Between Future and Strategy

Never got around to reading Lindgren's book, but it's supposed to be more of a how-to than the other two texts.

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April 04, 2005

Lab Rats with a Kung Fu Grip

A while back I wrote an article on "Getting a Kung Fu Grip". I still think grip strength is really important for martial artists, even strikers. And I know I've been remiss in keeping up with my grip training regimen.

One of the links in the article pointed at a company that made meters for testing the strength of lab mice. There's so much Weird Stuff on the Web that you forget just how ridiculous this sounds. Even more so, when you realize that it's actually a real, scientific apparatus used for legitimate research.

Now, being a sort-of technical type, but clueless about the zoological and biological sciences, what kind of job makes you measure the grip strength of a mouse?

Man holding mouse so it can grasp the grip strength meter

Only thing I could think of is a secret ninja-killer military project to recruit rodents for the armed forces. Breeding a cadre of warrior rats and all that. Too bad the Kung Fu Hamster is so last-year, we could really use him in the War for Freedom.

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