Monday, December 14, 2009


I recently gave a subscription to Sports Illustrated as a gift. There is apparently no mechanism on the Sports Illustrated site to buy a single year. Instead, you can buy a year which will automatically renew, with no obvious way to opt out of automatic renewal. If you cancel, the subscription stops immediately and you get a refund. Obviously a lot of people will forget, and the subscription will continue.

I was willing to pay the price on the Sports Illustrated website, but I was not willing to accept the auto-renewal. I was close to getting a different gift, but I discovered that Amazon had a non-renewing single year available, and at a 25% better price.

It seems strange to me that not offering a choice of automatic renewal (especially for a gift subscription) is beneficial--I would expect people interested in a single non-renewing year to skip the whole thing rather than accept being forced into automatic renewal.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Media and Machine Guns

This morning I heard about a shooting where (according to the radio) a man pulled a "Mac 10 machine gun" on police, and was shot and killed when his gun jammed. Several other reports talked about the gun, " a machine pistol capable of firing thousands of rounds per minute"

I doubted it was actually a machine gun.  I finally found an article that mentioned the actual gun in detail.
The model Raymond Martinez was carrying Thursday was a semi-automatic variation called the Masterpiece Arms 9-mm

The gun in question was not a machine gun. Rather, it was a semiautomatic copy of a Mac 10 machine pistol with a 30 round magazine. Bulky and awkward, poor quality and inaccurate.  One shot per trigger pull.  Scary looking, but virtually every modern 9mm is smaller, lighter, less bulky, more ergonomic, more reliable and more accurate.  Many have available 30 round magazines.

Even the actual machine gun version is not capable of firing thousands of rounds per minute--After a few seconds to empty the 30 round magazine, the gun is empty.  If you had the 34 magazines needed to fire 1000 rounds and switched them as quickly as possible the gun would overheat and malfunction before you were finished. 

One of the clues was "purchased from a dealer".  A true Mac 10 costs around $4000 used, requires an extensive background check and a $200 federal transfer fee.  A non-machine gun copy is around $400 new. 

Tactical Tandy

Last week I had some time to kill and found myself near a Tandy Leather store. Store had a sign "ask about holster lessons" and I did. The guy explained the class, and it appears to be a fantastic deal--$20 including materials, even if the holster isn't one I'd use often. Unfortunately it is unlikely to be quite worth the trip to Columbus.

I thought it was amusing that he called any holster other than the variations made in the class "Tactical".

Friday, December 04, 2009


I watch very little television, so I miss a lot of pop culture.  I saw promos for Steven Seagal's Lawman, and was smirking a bit. 

...until I found out that it isn't a drama, but a reality show.  WTF?