Category Archives: Technology

U.S. Army Finally Chooses M9 Replacement

The M9 is the US military’s Beretta Model 92 service pistol.  The M9 replaced the M1911 when it entered service in 1990. I remember when they did this. There was some concerns over stopping power when using the 9mm ball ammo.  A few arguments in favor of the switch from 45ACP to 9mm was increased magazine capacity, the military was getting more smaller men and women in larger numbers and the 9mm has less recoil  and standardizing the caliber with NATO. Never mind the USAF issued me a 38 Special, but that’s another gripe.

On 2005 the US Special Operations Command conducted the M9 replacement plan called the Joint Combat Pistol program. Some requirements were 45 caliber, striker fired, high capacity. Several manufactures submitted designs including S&W, Sig, H&K, Springfield Armory, Taurus, Ruger, Beretta, and FN.

On January 19, 2017 the Army announced it was replacing the M9 with the XM17, a military version of the Sig Sauer P320. This is a modular handgun system. Grips can be changed for better ergonomics, barrel lengths and calibers can be changed. The core is a serialized frame.  It is a polymer striker fired pistol with a Picatinny rail.

The Army has chosen the 9mm over the 40 caliber. I suspect that they will move away from ball ammo towards newer 9mm that offers better ballistics and expansion.  This is a result of the Modular Handgun System (MHS) study co authored with the Air Force.  The Marines have expressed a desire to replace their sidearms by 2020. I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t choose this by then. The Navy SEALS have always liked the 9mm cartridge and until recently used the Sig Sauer P226. It wouldn’t be that much of a leap for the Navy to get on board. The SEALS are now using the Glock 19 now BTW. But during the MHS trials the Glock lost out because it wasn’t a modular system.

Army Times

Sig Sauer

 

Bye Bye Betty

bitching-betty-ledeLeslie Shook, the voice of the F-18 cockpit warning system, retires after 20 years. She is affectionately know by pilots and aviators as Bitchin Betty. If you’re flying and she talks to you, you’re a second away from a very bad day. Better do as she tells you.

 

From the Boeing site:

“I have loved these planes for a lot of years,” said Boeing employee Leslie Shook as she gazed up at the cockpit of an F/A-18 Super Hornet. Leslie’s special connection with the jet spans 20 years. She is the voice of the cockpit warning system. Every technician and every pilot who has trained on or flown in an F-18 has heard Leslie’s stern commands. Her voice is affectionately known in the fighter jet world as ‘Bitchin’ Betty.’

“You hear this voice every day telling you things are okay or that you need to take action,” said Dana Perkins, Boeing Flight Operations, Weapons Systems Operator. “You start trusting this person’s voice. If she said ‘stand up straight,’ everyone would stand up straight!”

Leslie’s run as the voice behind the F-18 started as a happy accident. The F-15 contained the voice of the original ‘Bitchin’ Betty.’ Crews imported that voice into the F-18; but, additional calls were needed. Leslie was a media producer filling in as a sound engineer on the recording sessions. But, the talent couldn’t quite capture the sense of urgency needed for the job. “Betty’s got a cadence and a sharpness to it,” said Leslie. The program manager heard her directions and decided she was fit for the role—a role that has endured for the last two decades.

As the expression goes, all good things must come to an end. Boeing employees and Navy pilots recently gathered in St. Louis, Mo. to meet the woman behind the voice on her last day. “As soon as she started talking, we all grinned and said ‘oh yeah, that’s her!'” said Lt. Cmdr. Doug Crane, a DCMA Weapons Systems Officer on EA-18G and F/A-18F aircraft.

Leslie’s distinct voice cracked slightly as she said goodbye to ‘her plane.’ Watch the video to hear Leslie’s story in her own words and how her sharp command at the right moment saved one pilot’s life.

http://www.boeing.com/features/2016/03/bds-bitchin-betty-03-16.page

 

New Car

Nagging Thoughts

After making a 2000 mile round trip to visit my brother in Odessa, TX (the one who hasn’t posted any of his two new car purchases), driving through a freak November snow storm in a full size two wheel drive pickup, I needed a new traveling vehicle. My brother’s wife Dede had just got a new one. And it got me dwelling on it. So I started researching the matter.

snowjack

 

 

 

Out With the Old

My wife Benie was driving a 2007 Ford Focus she had cosigned for one of our daughters. Yeah, nuff said. I hated it. I’m a fairly big ole boy and that was like a clown car. Did I mention it had a 2.0 liter four bangers in it. It’s entry level at best. I figured rather than fooling with selling it, I’d let the dealer beat me up using it as a trade in. I was telling this to a neighbor and he mentioned that another neighbor’s grown son was looking for a dependable ride for his son who was starting college. One thing led to another and we made an appointment for the next weekend. Better hurry and degunk it. Did I mention my daughter is a slob.

focus gunk

Notice the seat

focusmud

Muck and Mud

focus passthrough

 

 

 

 

 

After a few test drives and a little haggling I sold it for the mid range KBB good conition price. I got some cash, and he got a dependable, good MPG college car. Complete with all prior dealer service records. That’s it sitting at grandma’s across the street. We actually sold it before getting a new one. So I was at the point of no return then. Benie was driving my 1994 Ranger. I knew that wasn’t going to last long.

focus new home

 

 

 

The Research

After researching (man did I research the heck out of this), comparing and test driving a few. One site I liked to use was U.S. News and World Report. They rank them by category. So you get to see head to head your category of vehicle. We decided to go with some type of cross over. Now for those who don’t know all auto makers make a seven passenger crossover, a five passenger and then a smaller dinky five passenger. I didn’t want to have to shoehorn in the smallest one and have my knee constantly rubbing on something. And the seven passenger ones usually sacrifice the cargo area and nothing but little kids are going to be comfortable with on that third row anyway. So the larger five passenger CUV (crossover vehicle)  it is. Naturally being a blue oval guy I emailed Christina the internet sales person for our local Ford dealer. Their CUVs are Explorer(7), Edge(5+) and Escape(5-). We drove an Edge. We also looked at Honda(CX5), Nissan(Murano) and Hyundai(Santa Fe). Benie fell in love with the Santa Fe. And the dimensions were within +/- one half inch with the Edge. Oh by the way Hyundai’s CUV lineup is the Santa Fe(7), Santa Fe Sport(5+) and Tucson(5-).

santafeedge

 

 

 

The Choice

At first I was a little hesitant about getting anything less than a six cylinder. The Edge offered one but the Santa Fe sport model only offered a four cylinder turbo. I figured with a ten year drive train warranty I’ll drive anything if they are going to keep it running for ten years. Another plus. So after buying six consecutive Ford vehicles in a row I got the Hyundai Santa Fe sport turbo. The only deal breaker from Benie was no more white vehicles. She has a loathing to white cars the same way Gerrit Graham did with red ones in Used Cars.

cabo bronze

The color is  called Cabo Bronze. It has all the packages you can throw at it. Monster nine speaker Infinity stereo, satellite,  touch screen navigation, their version of Onstar called Bluelink, power sunroof, proximity entry with push button start, heated and cooled leather seats. I think I’m going to move in there. Here’s Benie in her new ride Oh and don’t tell Dad.

 

santafe_benie

Benie in Her New Ride

 

Google Bug Juice

Only Constant is Change

Google has changed it privacy policies. Now data that has always been collected will be shared across all Google platforms. This means if you have a Google or Gmail account, and are logged in, Google will combine all platforms. Just some of these are Google search, Gmail, Google+, Google Docs, Picasa, and Android smart phones. I know the latter because when I use my Blogger (GMail) password to log into say, http://westernhero.blogspot.com/, my GalaxyS phone downloads my G+ posts. As I am composing this post in Google Docs I expect this to be included also.

Alternative Meds

This consolidation will only occur if you’re logged in. Me I’m fine with this. As I drink freely and deeply from the Google bug juice dispenser. BTW I like the red bug juice. If this bothers you don’t use Google products. You can search with Bing (15.2%) or Yahoo (14.1%). You can visit Google’s “Data Liberation Front” website for instructions in exporting data out of Google products. The Electronic Frontier Foundation also has instructions on removing your Google search history from your account. But remember kiddies once it’s out there, it’s there forever. Take note young gals. It might seem a lark to post a nude pic somewhere. But you’re going to have to explain this to the grand kids someday. And they will be a heck of a lot more tech savy than anyone here today.

Big Bother

And don’t forget big brother. The FTC has repeatedly investigated them so much that I ‘m sure the government either has voluntary or involuntary data access. So if you’re doing anything illegal expect a knock on the door.

ArsTechnica
Search Share

Dark Clouds Ahead

Last month I wrote about cloud computing. I recently saw a couple of things about this. First is the trend of companies growing their IT departments. Cloud computing offers a predefined generic solution for many companies. Often IT budgets are planned out in advance. Cloud services are on a pay as you use model. Making budgeting planning difficult.

Another is CEO and CIO lack of trust in cloud models. Coupled with that is the fear of losing control over the IT infrastructure and data.

Second thing I read is the LAPD’s unhappiness with Google’s Apps cloud model. It has been two years and they still aren’t satisfied with Google’s lack of security in meeting DOJ security demands. This seems to be a reoccurring factor when it comes to government agencies migrating to the cloud. Besides subjecting millions of personal records to virtual server farms, increasingly we are loosing IT professional skills to cheaper offshore companies. India? When these skills go away, it takes months even years to regain viable IT departments.

Netfraks

No Sir I Don’t Like It

Monday I received an Email from Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix. He announced that Netflix was going to split into two separate companies. Netflix being the streaming company and Qwikster being the DVD company. While he says the price will be the same, there will be two separate bills. And this includes two separate websites. Good god man, leave it alone. What about the needs of the customer? That’s what is missing here. Two separate lists? Many, many films that are not available to stream have to be on your DVD list. I don’t want to have two separate lists on distinct sites to update and cross-reference. Streaming and DVD service may be two different services for Netflix but for the customer, they are largely one in the same — access to films. If I can stream it, great, but if not, send me the DVD. Until all the films are available to stream , this doesn’t make sense. The new pricing structure was dumb, this is dumber. At last count on the Netflix blog there are about 25,000 negative posts. Maybe Netflix will see how they pissed off/on their customers and do a 180. I don’t need a DVD company or a streaming company. I need a movie company. With so much of the internet and companies touting integration this move seems like Netflix is taking a giant step backwards. This is like  if Amazon removed the 1-click buying button.

FromReedHastings Explanation

Cloudy With a Chance of Rain

cloudyI read what has to be the dumbest thing today. Apparently last year the White House released a policy called Cloud First. Requiring government agencies to move their services to the cloud. Concerns arise security is taking a back seat.

Clouds?

“Cloud” is another term for the Internet. Cloud computing means having every piece of data you need for every aspect of your life at your fingertips and ready for use. Cloud computing gives IT departments a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on the fly without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software. Cloud computing encompasses any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet. The Obama administration set a target to spend roughly $20 billion, more than a quarter of the total estimated federal information technology budget, to move systems across the government into the cloud.

I’ll Take Some of That

Realize that somewhere someone actually has servers that store information. It’s just that the government wants to farm this out to third party sources. I can’t think of anything riskier than letting Google, Microsoft, Dell or HP store sensitive government information. But that’s exactly some of the companies that are lining up to get a chunk of the money pie. In fact Google has already sued the Government Services Administration because they claim the bidding process favors Microsoft. Salesforce.com, a California company, boasts it now sells cloud-computing services to half of all Cabinet-level agencies. Amazon, that’s right the same people that you buy MP3s and Android apps, has a D.C. services division for it’s Web Services. And last year the GSA migrated its email to Google. That’s right, Gmail is storing all the government buying processes.

Now Hold On There

Some agencies, like Defense, State and National Institutes of Health, are showing hesitation. They worry about ever growing cyber attacks. It seems ridiculous to move sensitive military data to servers not under their direct control. What’s the accountability when sensitive systems get hacked? Loss of contract? Gee that’s harsh, we’ll let you rebid next fiscal year. And did the Social Security Administration ask you for your permission to store your personal data off site? I think this needs to be rethought a bit. I can see the cloud companies sell or lease equipment and infrastructure, but accountability needs to remain with the agencies at hand. What the Heck is a Cloud? High Stakes Worries