David Knights' Weblog

November 28, 2012

An interesting legal question

Filed under: Legal,Technology — dknights @ 12:35 pm
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Do the police need a warrant to track someone who is mooching off someone else’s wireless internet service? A case of first impression.

BTW, a very good reason to password protect your wireless router.

November 27, 2012

Where the law, technology and government intersect

Filed under: Legal,Politics,Technology — dknights @ 10:57 pm
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Here.  I have very mixed feelings about these cameras.  The results seem to be mixed as well.  The only thing that seems clear cut is that government makes a ton of money off them.


Filed under: Technology — dknights @ 3:00 pm
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and cool.

November 23, 2012

Book Review: The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Imperial Naval Air Service

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 12:40 pm
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Book cover

Book Review: The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Imperial Naval Air Service
By Peter J Edwards
346 pgs
32pgs of B & W photos

DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK!  I don’t think I have ever reviewed a book before and come to the conclusion that it had absolutely no redeeming value to it.  So, this is a first.

This book purports to be a history of the JNAF from its founding to its destruction at the end of WWII.  It isn’t.  I am not sure what it is.  I wish I could tell you.  I am not making any of the following up.  I swear.

The first 40 pages or so of the book give a brief overview of the history of Japan and the rise of Japan in the post Meiji period.  It reads as either a: a post-WWII right wing Japanese version of history, or b: a view of the history of Japan and the Far East from a Marxist/Leninist perspective.  Really, it does.  As I was reading I kept checking to make sure that this wasn’t a translation of a work of Japanese author.  The “history” kept emphasizing the close relationship that Japan (particularly the Japanese Navy) had with Great Britain, which is true.  However, the author states that the break in relations between Japan and Great Britain between WWI and WWII was a result of a commercialist plot by the US to strip Great Britain of her colonies in order to advance US commercial interests.

From this we move into the heart of the book.  The book chronicles the development of the home grown Japanese aviation industry (with much British technical support).  It then gets to the heart of the matter, the history of the JNAF in the conflict in China and in WWII.  Here the book wanders back and forth, with no clear narrative.  It repeats facts and stories multiple times on different pages.  One of the threads in this part of the book is the extended development of the A7M (SAM) successor to the A6M (ZERO).  However the information is presented in such a disjointed manner that it is impossible to follow.  It really does read as if it has been translated directly from a foreign language. Also, I am not sure I’d believe as fact anything present in this book as a fact.  In the book, we learn, as a fact, that Amelia Earhart was on a spy mission for the US.  She crashed on an island in the Marshalls chain, was captured by the Japanese and died in captivity.  Further, when the US captured the Marshalls, Marines found her grave and returned her body to the US where it is secretly buried, with the knowledge of her immediate family.  (Again I am not making this up.)

I really wish I could find something positive to say about this book.  I’ve tried quite hard, but there is simply nothing to recommend it.  I bought the book off Amazon for about $15.00.  I won’t even sell this book back for the dollar or so that Amazon would give me, as I wouldn’t want to inflict it on anyone else.

November 22, 2012

Book review: Spitfire Leader: The story of Wg Cdr Evan “Rosie” Mackie

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 12:28 pm
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Spitfire Leader

Book review: Spitfire Leader: The story of Wg Cdr Evan “Rosie” Mackie
By Max Avery with Christopher Shores
ISBN: 1-902304-26-8
188 pgs
16 pgs bw photos

I am a huge fan of Chris Shores and his sometime co-author Brian Cull.  I am working my way thru the books that either of them have written.  I will admit that I was unaware of this title until it was suggested by Amazon due to the other Shores’ books that I had ordered in the past.

As the title suggests, the book is the story of Wg Cdr Evan “Rosie” Mackie DSO, DFC and Bar DFC (US), one of the highest scoring RNZAF aces.  He fought in England, Africa, Sicily, and Europe.  He ended up a Wing Commander with 21 ½ to 25 kills depending on how you count.  I will admit that I’d never heard of Wing Commander Mackie before this book and that is a shame.  He is an impressive person who rose from a humble background, went to war when duty called and when the war was over he returned to his homeland to contribute to society with the skills he had acquired prior to the war, giving up flying completely.

Like many of his generation, he grew up in great poverty.  He was mechanically inclined which came in handy in working his way up the employment ladder.  Wg Cdr Mackie was one of the pilots who, due to his mechanical background, had great respect for the squadron maintenance personnel.  In fact, he spent spare time giving hop rides to the ground personnel.  He also emphasized to his pilots the need for them to learn the mechanical features of their airplanes.

The book describes each of Mackie’s kills in detail including his own words in his after action reports.  In several cases, the authors are able to identify Mackie’s victim, making for a good “dogfight double” for the modeler.  Mackie flew a number of different versions of the Spitfire as well as the Tempest V.  This gives the modeler a number of choices if he chooses to model one of Wg Cdr Mackie’s aircraft.

The book has a number of photos from different parts of Mackie’s life, with emphasis on the war years.  There are several photos of his various aircraft.  A couple of color three views of Mackie’s different aircraft would have been nice from a modeler’s perspective, but I understand why they aren’t there.

This book was a great, very quick read. I was hooked from the first moment I stared reading.  I highly recommend this book.

November 21, 2012

More tar and feathers

Filed under: Politics — dknights @ 1:38 pm
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This is why we need smaller government at all levels.


I am not sure about the officer needing to be fired, but I am glad they had the good sense not to puruse this issue.

Identify this aircraft

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 12:34 pm
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Yes, I know what it is.  All of the men in the photo were killed flying it.

What is this aircraft?

UPDATE: The answer is HERE.

November 20, 2012

Carrot tickets

Filed under: Politics — dknights @ 12:43 pm
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I LOVE this story.  Lives up to the motto, “I aim to misbehave.”


Filed under: Modeling,Technology — dknights @ 12:25 pm
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The Marines have formed their first F-35B squadron.  We’ll see if the F-35 lives up to expectations.

November 19, 2012

Cool decals

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 9:51 pm
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These are two cool decal sheets.  One of these days I want to do a Wal and a Do-22J.

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