Author Archive

The coolest Submachinegun ever.

Yeah, I guess this would be a surprise post from someone who is “anti-gun”, but you might be surprised at how much some of us know about guns.

Anyway, my personal vote is for the MAT-49 which comes from Manufacture Nationale d’Armes de Tulle (MAT) armoury for use by the French Army and the fact that it was first produced in 1949.  Forgotten arms has a great video on the MAT-49.

The reason I like the gun is that it is one of the more unusual guns out there in that the magazine well folds up to the body. There are only two guns I know that do this the Hotchkiss Universal and the MAT-49: both of which were in competition to be France’s submachinegun in the post-war period. That said it has connections to Vietnam and Algeria.

Although, I would be less inclined to want one for reenacting Vietnam. The French were using other countries weapons: especially early in the war. An M1 Carbine works just as well. An M1 carbine can also be used for Algeria, but the MAT-49 was standard issue for the French military by that time. Although, the gun was being used by French Paratroops: especially at Dien Bien Phu.

Let’s toss in that the MAT-49 retooled for the Tokarev round was used by the Vietnamese (as were 9mm versions).

Still, this gun is expensive as heck in the US, while one can pick up a deact/neutralisé MAT49 no problems! And the deact is a fraction of the price of the parts kits I’ve seen for sale in the US. There are few options for replicas in the states since I’ve seen movie prop resin versions sell out at a 4 figure price! Relics UK sells a wooden version which works for prop or display use.

The problem is that the action is what makes this gun so interesting. Toss in its popularity among collectors (these things are really pricey if you want one that WORKS!). They were designed for full-auto, so I’m not sure how easy it would be to make a semi-auto version.

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I’m putting this here as a guide to the missing pieces for the upper.

I’m surprised Denix hasn’t made one yet. I’m pretty sure they would sell. Especially since deacts aren’t legal in the US. And Deacts are getting harder to get in Europe.

I know I’m not alone in my interest in this weapon since doing a search on the MAT-49 will turn up a lot of material. Maybe we are just a small community out there.

BTW, if you have a parts kit that is missing pieces, the best place to get them is naturabuy.fr. Unfortunately, it takes knowledge of French to be able to buy there. Also, the people with the best prices usually don’t ship outside France.

Some vocabulary if you want to try shopping there:
Guidon=front sight
Oeilleton=rear sight
ressort=spring
verrou de crosse=stock locking pin
Carte bleu=Visa (the best way to pay outside of France). And yes, there is a difference between Visa and MC in France.

Just one person!

I believe in the six degrees of separation since I’ve seen it too many times in my life. Latest example is I was criticising an actor and found out his mother was an acquaintance!

OK, I’ve always been outspoken

But this isn’t a scholarly journal or something I want to make money from. It’s a platform for me to get ideas out there.

I am happy if someone sees something here and uses it for good.

I think the world sucks. I am not sure how to make it better (recycling isn’t working for me–my house feels like Alice’s Church). Altruism is hard.

But I hope that if someone sees someting which is useful and makes a better world then all this shit has been worth it.

The ultimate PFD

It’s a (very) rainy day with predictions of thundershowers making me sit out on the paddlesports. But that doesn’t stop me from shopping for gear. Which is where I saw the Kokatat Poseidon PFD.

This thing is probably way more PFD than I really need at a price points higher where I want to buy one. But the thing is one of the most impressive modular units I’ve ever seen. The radio pack is probably one of the more extreme accessories I’ve seen.

Check it out at https://kokatat.com/product/poseidon-lvupdn. The video is worth it!

Posted 22/09/2019 by lacithedog in Kayak, Kayaking, Outdoors, Paddling, Water Sports

Nest Hello is up and running!

OK, you like a challenge if you are reading this. And installing the Nest Hello Doorbell is definitely a challenge, but worth it in the end.  I found the real issues were more with the doorbell than the doorbell system.

Nest people: please come up with a way to set this up using a wired connection. The Bluetooth version had too many problems.  I was able to set this up, but there were far too many headaches associated with wireless in a highly congested frequency band.

But it was worth it in the end.

I can see events. So, if someone were to be a porch pirate, or worse, I wouldn’t have to scroll through hours of footage to find it. The segments would be highlighted. I also signed up to have my video stored for 10 days in “the cloud”.

Personally, I find that CCTV is far more of a crime deterrent than a firearm. Toss in how many people have been killed by CCTV as opposed to family members killed with a gun.

Two high profile crimes were solved through CCTV in my neighbourhood. I can name a lot more where the CCTV being backed up to a remote location foiled criminals (including bent cops).

So, keep your gun. I would rather have big brother watching out for me.

What they don’t tell you about installing the Google Nest Hello Doorbell.

All the videos out there that show how to install the doorbell using the app neglect something very important about how to set up this unit: you need a Bluetooth device which is connected to your wifi.

Highly important since one of the design flaws in this unit is that this is the ONLY way to set it up to work with your wireless network. Yes, even though the Nest Hello Doorbell has a USB port on the back, you can’t set this up using a computer: only some sort of tablet or phone via bluetooth.{1}

That neglects that there are so many wireless devices out there in the 2.4GHz range that there is a high likelihood of interference. I literally had my phone on top of my nest when I was setting the thing up. People who do this professionally and have advanced degrees in electronics/electrical engineering complain.

I am but a mere technician (and end user), but I can see a serious design flaw!

Toss in that you have to restart the app (and start at the beginning and go through the installation process again REPEATEDLY) to pair the unit. No way to jump to pair my device and skip all the other steps in the installation process.

Also, they only give you one tool/key. So, don’t lose the thing or you will end up using a small hex wrench to try and pop the unit out!

I would also add that having a multimeter is useful for this process: especially if you are installing a new transformer.
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Anyway, the easy stuff.

I ended up putting the chime connector on this doorbell. I put the white wire where the white wire is in this pic. The grey wire replaced the red.

It worked like a charm. Both bells make noise!

Only complaint about the chime connector is that the Nest people should have used something darker than grey. I was using a flashlight to do the wiring. It was a little difficult to differentiate between the white and grey in low light situations.

This video: Use Nest Hello With Nearly Any Incompatible Doorbell was interesting, but not really appropriate for my situation. I’m linking it for people who might have an “incompatible” chime they like.

In my case, all I needed to do was to put the chime connector between the two screws above.

Whatever, the Nest Home people aren’t really good at explaining what all needs to be done.  You can download an installer’s manual here: https://cjsperformance.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2917_NestHello_Pro_Installer_Guide_20180416.pdf. It isn’t more detailed than the app, but worth a look.

Oh, yeah, and something which should have taken me maybe 45 minutes tops has taken about 9 hours altogether because of poor design. You read the literature and it leaves a lot to be desired. Especially if the Bluetooth won’t pair.

Footnote:

[1} I ended up buying a chepo android tablet since my iPhone 6S was having difficulties pairing with this device. I had to balk at spending the price for an iPad if my only reason for getting it was to set up the Nest hello!

Installing the Nest Hello Doorbell

OK, I decided to get a Nest hello Doorbell. Not so much for the security aspect, even thought CCTV is probably the best crime stopping tool out there. Nope, I’m doing it because I can’t hear my doorbells: especially when I am out back.

The Nest people have instructions for what they are worth out there, but the gist of it is like:

As long as you have “front”, “trans”, “rear” connections on the main chime you should be fine. Swap the Hello with the front doorbell button and put the chime connector/puck on the front and trans terminals/screws. If you have multiple wires on a terminal then only use one of the wires, leave the others connected.

Which isn’t really helpful in my circumstances. I have a house that is nearly 200 years old (which isn’t that old for these parts) and wiring which is antique. This is a picture of the transformer and one of the bells (“chimes”). Actually, these suckers are bells that go “zing”, which was really grating. These must be early since there was a movement in the 1930s when the manufacturers started pushing “Chimes”.  Anyway, this is a two bell system with an old transformer. I was able to find markings that tell me the system is at least 70 years old!

The joy of the internet! I was able to track down the transformer. I found similar doorbells. There is even a modern version of this bell being sold which takes 16VAC 10VA.

120-240 isn’t really an issue as much as dealing with electrical antiques. So, this is applicable pretty much all over the world.

It’s also the standard 10VAC system found around here, which means I need a new transformer to up the system to 16VAC 10VA required by the Hello. That’s the easy part. I know I can push the power to 16VAC, but not so sure about the higher 24VAC. Anyway, the transformer I bought can do both 16 and 24 VAC, which means I am covered.

I’m not going to get into which transformer I bought since there are a few ones out there that will do the job. The real issue is whether I am going to go with 16 or 24 VAC. Also, I don’t have “Chimes”, which means where do I put the Nest Chime Connector.

I’m going to start with the 16VAC and see if it works. I may go higher if things don’t work out well. the issue is that this system runs two doorbells. I have a feeling that the 24VAC would work if needed, but I am not keen on running more than twice the power that this system has run under for 70 odd years.

Second issue is where to put the Nest Chime Connector. Not only don’t my “chimes” have F,R,or T markings: they don’t have any markings. Fortunately, doorbell systems are AC which means there is no polarity involved. Nevertheless, I’ve decided I can tell which wires are Transformer (T) and which is Front (F) in the wiring diagram. I will then put the connector right on the new transformer using the chime wires.

Nest has its tech manual for the doorbell online, which goes into a bit more detail, but not that much more, than the app’s install. https://cjsperformance.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2917_NestHello_Pro_Installer_Guide_20180416.pdf

However I found the most useful item was this: https://diyhousehelp.com/doorbell-wiring-diagrams .

Anyway, the  fun will begin when everything is brought together. I am currently waiting for the Nest Hello to show up.

OK, personal opinion on transformers: get one which does multiple voltages from your region to make sure it is either 120 or 240 as your needs go.  Getting a 120 transformer for a 240 household would give too much power. Likewise, a 240 would give too little power in a 120 situation

TABS: The Authentic Bermuda Shorts

FireShot Capture 371 - The Authentic Bermuda Shorts - www.tabsbermuda.com

note how the logo matches the new Bermuda tourist board logo/typeface

I’ve been wanting to do a post about this company since it relates to a subject near and dear to my heart: Bermuda shorts and the style they embody. TABS is a “lifestyle brand”, which I think covers a bunch of different topics.  Rebecca intended to “reclaim Bermuda Shorts and show the world what they are really made of. ”  She goes on to say:

I spoke to countless locals about what makes Bermuda Shorts unique and why they are proud to wear them. The research paid off and after over a year of pinning, poking and testing I had my first prototype.

FireShot Capture 369 - Bermuda Forts __ 5 Must-See Forts in Bermuda - www.gotobermuda.com

The Bermuda Tourist Board Typeface

Both Rebecca and myself will point out that she is pretty much the only Bermudian business that is trying to market this style internationally, which is one of the reasons I like her company. You can buy her products online. And while the English Sport Shop (ESS) and TABS both market this fashion in a lifestyle mode (although I would say ESS is the older, traditional Bermuda), TABS is the “New Bermuda”.

Although Bermuda shorts are the national business attire coming in various colours. The more conservative colours are gray, beige or navy blue. But some men prefer brighter colours: orange, pink, green or yellow. Newly arrived expatriate businessmen tend to go for the dark grey at first. Then they graduate to navy, dark green, burgundy, yellow and pink as they get used to that being the norm (I admit to having done this as well at first for a few reasons).

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The cognoscenti know these Authentic TABS shorts from at least two different things even with the hanger in the way.

TABS shorts are different in a few ways from those sold by the English Sport Shop: although both are proper Bermudian Business attire. However, little things show that you are wearing TABS, not shorts from the ESS. For example, I can tell the shorts are TABS in the Style Advisor picture from the How to wear Bermuda shorts (for men) post. People who know the TABS brand tend to be cohesive. And small in number at this point, but I hope that the number gets much larger.

I won’t get as effusive about the shop as some of the reviews I’ve seen about the store since it isn’t the only place to buy Bermuda shorts on the Island. Also, the

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TABS’ distinctive linings on the  Bermudiana Purple Polo (front) and shorts.

store seems a lot like most other clothing stores with the exception that it sells Bermuda shorts with all the colours that entails. Toss in that I like both ESS and TABS. It’s Rebecca’s desire to popularise Bermuda shorts that makes me like this company (and feel sorry that I didn’t talk to her more when I met her in the store). We share a goal of seeing this style become more popular  outside of Bermuda.

I would point out that the English Sport Shop has been around for over 100 years, which makes them very much a part of the Bermuda short culture. You can’t discount ESS in any discussion of Bermuda Shorts

IMG_7426On the other hand, the English Sport Shop doesn’t have a website or sell online. You will get some assistance in making a wardrobe at ESS, but TABS has its style advisor to help you get the look right. Toss in the linings of the TABS shorts also help give an idea of what colours coordinate with the shorts!

I really like this brand and recommend them. At least stop in if you are in Bermuda.

And maybe you’ll end up a convert to this style.

The TABS Bermuda website:
https://www.tabsbermuda.com/