I Made a Thing: HOTAS/Chair/Desk

tl;dr - finished chair-mounted desk for joystick mount.

tl;dr – finished chair-mounted desk for joystick mount.

I play Star Citizen a lot. ( It’s a new space-sim online multiplayer game still in alpha with six degrees of freedom when piloting space craft and fully simulated Newtonian physics. It’s being made by Chris Roberts, the creator of Wing Commander. Check it out if you’re into that sort of thing. ) You can play it with just a keyboard and mouse, but other controls are much more fun and immersive. I needed a more ergonomic solution to using my Joystick and Throttle. Leaning over my desk wasn’t comfortable and couldn’t be done for any real length of time.

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The Return

Life has gone in directions I did not anticipate. For a little bit I thought I’d be getting into Joomla plugin development. Other things grabbed my time and interest, so a return to WordPress it is. Pardon the dust, as I import all the old articles and comments as best I can into the database. Here’s hoping I don’t screw up too many RSS feeds for too long.

Upcoming posts will cover high power lasers (in the 60 Watt range), custom computer chair construction, Project BigMacintosh, and hopefully a new PC build. Also, I’m heading to the NRA Annual Meeting this month with Erin Palette. I’m looking forward to seeing most of you in person (And let’s be honest. If you’re reading this, we probably already know and like each other).


Gunvault – Nanovault NV300 Review

This is a repost from 4/23/2013 and applies only to NV300 safes with a shiny metallic lock mechanism. Locks with plastic combinations dials have been revised and a future review is forthcoming.

Before getting into the review, you must understand my reasons for buying the NV300. I needed something to:

  • comply with safe storage laws
  • store a carry piece while in a disarmed victim zone
  • be moderately priced

I found the NV300 on sale on Amazon for $28 with Prime shipping in December 2012 and all three requirements were met.



The construction at first glance seems very sturdy; the metal exterior is very solid. I need to be very clear, though, that this is not a safe. Having only three digits, the combination lock can be bypassed in less than an hour just by cranking out successive combinations from 000-999. Most shocking, however, was how I accidentally discovered the construction of the latching mechanism.

After returning home from a trip with my carry piece locked inside the nanovault (I live in Mordor), the latch wouldn’t open after I entered my combination. Thinking the latch was stuck a little, I shifted the two halves of the nanovault and pulled. I heard a snap and the nanovault popped open. For a few seconds I felt like the hulk. I had only used a small amount of effort, not even straining myself. Sadly, it was not superhuman strength that led to the lock’s failure – it was poor material choice.


The cylinder that holds the latch in place is made of plastic. The one mechanism in the entire product that receives the most stress under an attack is supported by a brittle piece of plastic.

While the design department might have been lacking, customer service was very helpful. I had some difficulty with their online chat client – it kept disconnecting my session – but that may have been an issue on my end. I emailed them a copy of my Amazon receipt and they shipped out a new NV300 within a week, free of charge, even after I told them I broke it with my bare hands.


The replacement came with a much sturdier cable. Unfortunately, this “safe” suffered from the same flaw.

All things considered, I’m still using my NV300 since it meets all that I require from a container. Anyone looking for a secure container, however, should beware that the security is comparable to a TSA approved lock for a soft-sided suitcase.

I try Generally to Keep it Clean

but FUCK YES!!!

Finally there will be legal carry in IL by people that aren’t politicians. I really hope the Republican side of the ILGA sticks it hardcore to the Chicago group. Now that we have to pass a law, we should make it the closest we can to Vermont-style carry. Shall-issue, non-binding signage, few restrictions, etc. The anti-gun lobby had their chance to pass a restrictive bill earlier this year. They held it off by only 5 votes from a 3/5 majority needed. Now they’re the ones that need a vote, or it might just end up as Vermont-style carry by default.

Here’s a copy of the ruling:


Another Round of PSH

I heard on the radio this morning about some vile person with a huge cache of weapons that may have been trying to assassinate the First Lady…

Curious, I tracked down this article: “Sniper Rifle, Military Grade Guns Found In California Student’s Trunk


Wow, that’s a nice rifle. I followed the links until I got to the local station’s website: “SDSU student arrested after weapons cache discovery.”

There are three separate videos on the local station site, but it boiled down to a 20 year-old with fake ID trying to score some booze, and he had guns in his trunk. The MILITARY-GRADE guns were 4 Mosin-Nagant rifles (two with extra scary bayonets), a GSG-22, what looks like a break-action, double barreled Coach-gun, some variety of 1911, an SKS, and a PSL. Assuming he bought them a year or two ago, that entire “cache” probably doesn’t even add up to the cost of the rifle in the top photo.

You can spot gun cases in the video, discarded in the background, so he was likely transporting them legally. It’s only illegal to buy a handgun under the age of 21 in California. The minimum age to own one is 18. According to the second video, Moore was charged with 3 weapons violations: Possessing an Assualt Weapon with a Detachable magazine, one with a Flash Suppressor, and one with a  Thumbhole stock. The Mosins, the shotgun, and the 1911 aren’t even close to running afoul of California’s “Assault Weapons” Ban. The GSG-22 is exempt because it’s a .22. The SKS is one of those guns that scares liberals, but in California it is only banned if it has a detachable magazine. This leaves any possible trouble to the PSL. It’s hard to tell from grainy pictures on the video, but the PSL   looks to have its stock muzzle device on it – a muzzle brake. The thumbhole stock is only illegal in the presence of a detachable magazine, so the big question becomes, “Did the PSL have a bullet-button?”


Update: 10/29/2012: Thanks to user “1 2 many” on Calguns.net who was kind enough to let me use his photo of a PSL with a bullet button.


A Good Exchange

I was reminded today in #gunblogger_conspiracy of a time I made a hippie cry.

I was visiting a few good friends up in Daley-ville (Since I was willing to travel to such a place, one must then note how much I value these friends). Around the time stomachs began to rumble, I believe it was Lord Dixon that suggested they show me to this “really good place to eat, if you don’t mind the fact that they’re liberal hardcore socialists.”

I figured it would be par for the course in Chicago. I had failed to understand just how granola these folks were. It was a with a strange sense of disconnect that I entered the Heartland Cafe. The gift shop portion of the store was filled with an amazing assortment of environmentalist, liberal, socialist propaganda. This was in 2008, and the Øbama posters were particularly hilarious, looking back. (If I ever have cause to travel into such lands again, I shall endeavor to take photos.)

The beer selection was actually decent, if memory serves. We all chose an entree, and the waiter came to take our orders. As I was about to give my order for a chicken dish, I noticed on the menu that it specifically stated the chicken was “free-range.”

I said something like, “I’ll have the chicken…never mind, it’s free-range.  I’ll have this instead.”

“What’s wrong with ‘free-range chicken?'” the waiter asked.

(Now, one must picture this waiter, to appreciate the full effect. He’s dressed in well-worn handmade hemp clothing, has ratty sorta braided, ‘I want dreadlocks’ blond hair, and has a scruffy, unkempt chin-beard of some variety. He’s hygienically clean with no odor, but unkempt in appearance.)

“It doesn’t taste quite as right,” I said

He puffed up to deliver his speech, “It’s 100% certified organic, free-range. It’s free of hormones and chemicals. Not only is the taste more natural, but it’s healthier for you, more humane and environmentally friendly.”

“But there’s no fear.”


“In the chicken. There’s no taste of fear. Of torment. There are certain juices, enzymes if you will, that are released when an animal lives in fear and suffering – especially at the end of its life. Free-range chicken doesn’t have that.”

“That’s…(lost for words)”

“Nature.  Man is a natural predator. Not strictly a carnivore, I’ll grant you. An omnivore, to be sure, but the taking of meat requires a predatory status.”

“But…it’s inhumane.”

“Which would certainly be a factor if the chickens were human. That suffering and fear brings out a distinct succulent flavor in the meat. I’ll profess ignorance if it arises from the adrenaline or some other internal process. Whether being de-beaked adds more flavor than the confinement or infighting. Or even if it’s the simple fact that this small animal knows almost from birth til inevitable death that it is nothing more than future food with a meaningless existence until the higher purpose of its death.”

At this point, the waiter was very visibly upset. He glanced at his notepad, back up at us, and quickly retreated to the kitchen without another word. One of my friends burst out laughing, another applauded, and Lord Dixon grabed my arm and pulled me out of my chair.

“We’re leaving,” he announced, throwing down some cash for the drinks. “I do not want to eat anything that comes out of the kitchen after that performance, no matter how hilarious.”

Although I was unable to sample the distinctly humane cuisine from the Heartland Cafe, my unshakable reasoning ensured that I did not pay for drinks for the remainder of the evening.  I believe this was a good exchange.