The very rudest buzz to be had

I hate getting head colds. They start as a sinus infection, cause my right ear to plug up, then move to the throat to reside there as an irritating cough that lasts for days.

Since moving to the higher thinner air of Colorado, I get them very rarely and have almost to be injected with a concentrated sample to contract one. Or receive a kiss from my daughter.

One is now winding down. Thanks very much to chlorpheniramine maleate, dextromethorphan hydrobromide, pseudephedrine, and some menthol.

I have to be very careful with these medicines, they make me giddy. A single dose of Nyquil will have me sailing for days, with my pupils cranked open as if I'd dropped windowpane. People will see me and ask, "Did you get your hair colored, Fûz?" or "Hey, nice dental work!", whispering to each other after I pass, "what's different about him?" as if I were the guy who just got his Cialis scrip. Subjective time seems to slow down because I swear I can see the office computer's screen flicker under the influence, but not when I'm free of OTC cold meds.

Guaifenesin we simply cannot do any more. It makes my ribcage feel like it's inflated with helium and one careless move will unmoor me from the Earth. Meanwhile, my voice has taken on a Barry White growl.

I'll be glad when this is over.


My Skype username is Patriotbrewer

Am eager to try out the nifty Skype, a free P2P encrypted internet telephony client. Somebody gimme a call in the evenings, Mountain time.

Marshalbanana from Greece has been trying to reach me but we haven't connected yet. With a name like that, though . . .


It's the harmonics, stupid

Wired's shorticle on electronics forbidden on aircraft elicited the harrumpf factor.

"The operating frequency of these devices is well below the range of aircraft systems." But if these devices are digital, their myriad transistors are being turned from full-off to full-on, to signify the binary ones and zeros that trigger other transistors in turn in the construct we know as code. Whether that code drives the video of a GameBoy or the audio of an MP3, or a spreadsheet, makes little difference.

When a waveform of full-off to full-on and back is created, it wants very badly to divide itself into an infinite number of sine waveforms whose frequencies are multiples of the fundamental on-off frequency, with amplitudes decreasing as the frequency increases. If you have a lowly 16 MHz square wave clock, it will want to break apart into sine waves of higher frequency. They aren't intended, they just happen, and good design will seek to reduce the amplitude of those harmonics, or the power at which those harmonics escape the device.

The issue returns to frequency and power. What frequency or range of frequencies is being emitted by these devices, and at what power? Then, what frequencies, at what power, will disturb a commercial aircraft's systems?

It was our luck to have been employed on a project where the engineers intentionally overdrove a part so its harmonics were stronger, because one of those harmonics was desired as a clock frequency for the product. The manufacturer of the part improved it to reduce the harmonic output. It could not longer be mis-applied that way. The PCB had to be relaid, we missed milestones, the financing was withdrawn, the project cancelled.

On the bright side, this got Fûz laid off, forcing a relocation from NY to Colorado. The harmonics created by square waves have offered me a wild, sinusoidal rollercoaster ride.

. . . this little chromium switch here . . .

WUTT! is going to enable Atom site feed. Wish me luck.


Screw it up for us and you screw it up for your enforcers too

I remember when an over-ten-round magazine cost less than thirty bucks, say, for a wondernine like the Beretta 92 or Browning P35 or the countless Glocks. I could find them anywhere, like Dershem's in Bellefonte, or Grice's or Bob's Army-Navy in Clearfield, Pennsylvania.

This was before the '94 AWB. It was even before the AWB was deliberated.

Prices started climbing as soon as the laws were proposed, and they kept climbing until, for all intents and purposes, the prices on some of these over-ten-round capacity magazines approached infinity. New ones could not be had at any price.

Ironically, since demand among the civilian sector approached zero, the manufacturers for these products found themselves serving a much smaller legal market, the police and gummint buyers. Said manufacturers could not keep their assembly lines busy so they scaled production back to the point where economies of scale no longer applied. Prices for the cops and the gummint climbed too.

High-volume magazines already imported or manufactured before the ban because of certain demand remained inexpensive, such as those for M16, AK, G3, and FAL. But they're the exception.

If, insh'allah, the AWB sunsets as anticipated, it may take some time for the supply to ramp back up for the return of legal private demand for high-cap magazines. But police departments everywhere were Taking It in the shorts for these ten years, paying triple or quintuple what they used to for replacement magazines for their sidearms. All in return for receiving a privileged status as the only lawful owners of new-production magazines.

It's happening again, as new blog-rollee Heartless Libertarian points us to Geekwitha45's report. The introduction of a new, badly needed cartridge for Uncle Sugar's service rifles is delayed because no manufacturer wants to undertake the project of supplying the magazine for it without the legal demand from private citizens.

Maybe next time policemen will remind themselves that supporting that ban has cost them and their departments, in real dollars and perhaps officers' lives, and maybe they'll think twice before allowing themselves to be used politically for similar bans in the future.