And then, if you can spare a little, donate to the EMS scholarship founded in his memory.
I’m sure, never having worked on an ambulance, that you’re mightily impressed with our recent CAD software upgrade.
And truly, the graphics and buttons are kinda sexy.
But while it probably makes sense to you to set it up to have the computer automatically plot a route to every friggin’ destination, to us, the end users, the functionality is somewhat lessened by the fact that our GPS network apparently consists of two 70′s era satellites communicating via tin cans and a really long string, and the route processing algorithm was apparently written by little Billy from the Family Circus comic strip.
So until you manage to develop a mapping system that doesn’t suck great big rocks off the sea floor, I have a request:
Go to the dispatch server at Headquarters Hive, log in with your admin password, and choose the “System settings” drop down list on the top tool bar.
From there, choose Navigation > Route Planning > Preferences, and un-check the box that says “make as many 90 degree turns as possible.”
And while you’re there, go to Route Planning > Preferences > Avoidances, and check the boxes for “ghetto,” “construction zone,” “bike path,” “game trail,” and “wander around aimlessly like a drunken fucking sailor.”
Thanks ever so much,
Anyone who has ever sighted in a rifle at long range or spent a day at the range testing and tuning handloads knows how tedious it can be: Shoot… squint through the spotting scope… shoot… squint through the spotting scope… curse, re-acquire target through the spotting scope… struggle to remember which was the last bullet impact… sigh, wait for someone to call a cold range… trudge downrange, pull your target and post a new one… wait for someone to call hot range… shoot…
Now imagine how much easier it would be if this was all you had to do: Shoot. Press the space bar. Shoot again. Press the space bar again.
That’s the beauty of the Bullseye Target Camera system, an innovation that allows you to view your latest bullet impact on your laptop, at ranges up to 1000 yards and beyond.
The Bullseye system consists of a night-vision capable camera, antenna and wireless router, and in the case of the 1000-yard model, a signal booster. The whole thing runs off a lithium ion battery pack with a 5-hour life. The camera’s signal is beamed to your laptop, where the camera software runs from the provided USB drive. From there, the magic elves that live in your computer’s monitor scan for new bullet impacts, and scurry around marking them with brightly-colored Magic Markers.
Or, you know, something like that. I’m a little fuzzy on computer technology; I just know that it works. With every new shot, press the space bar on your laptop’s keyboard, and the last impact is there flashing on your screen.
Simply set up the camera on the tripod, aim it at the center of the target with the attached laser designator, and plug in your cables according to the laminated setup instructions. Everything else can stay in the padded carrying case.
Rifle, targets, ballistics calculator on the iPhone, netbook, and Bullseye Camera. Everything you need for a day at the range.
I had the opportunity to evaluate the Bullseye Camera System over a weekend’s shooting at Blogorado, and came away highly impressed. Initially we used the camera to monitor our 750-yard rifle target, and I was a bit disappointed with the performance. The software functioned perfectly, but the camera resolution left a great deal to be desired.
The fault, however, was my own. The system instructions recommend setting up the camera at 3-8 feet from the target, offset 45 degrees to get it out of the line of fire. However, with swirling downrange winds at 30 knots, and a number of shooters, including myself, with a tendency to be a little, well… ambitious, sometimes the misses are measured in feet, not inches. I didn’t want to hit a $500 camera with a stray .50 or .30 caliber round, so succumbing to an overabundance of caution, I set up the camera twenty feet away, and the resolution suffered.
However, our second range day was a different story. I set up the camera as directed by the manufacturer, both on our 200 yard and 100 yard targets, and the resolution was as bright and clear as looking at the target, well… three feet away.
Bullseye Camera on the 100 yard range.
No squinting through a spotting scope, fiddling with focus and dealing with the narrow field of view of a high magnification lens. No trudging downrange to pull and post targets. No posting new targets for new shooters.
I spent four hours and over 100 shots through various rifles, and only went downrange once to post new targets. As new shooters ambled over to try their hand, all that was necessary was to set up a new shooter profile on my laptop. A few keystrokes, and they were ready to start shooting on the targets already in place.
Camera in full viewing mode, showing all three targets.
The camera software allows you to set up unique profiles for each shooter, with options for different weapons and ammunition, and different colored shot markers for each shooter. The ammunition window allows you to input brand, caliber, bullet type and weight, notes and a variety of other data. Handloaders can set up a different ammo profile for everything they bring to the range, making the old-fashioned range notebook obsolete.
Tuning handloads? Set up a different profile for each load, all assigned to the same rifle.
What few quibbles I had with the system mainly stem from my writer’s sensibilities, and have nothing to do with the performance of the system. For instance, “bullet” is misspelled in the window for ammunition data. I’d like it if the shot markers were a bit smaller, closer to the diameter of the bullet holes themselves. None of these are gripes big enough to convince me not to buy this system.
"Define target" mode, used to zoom in on specific targets.
If you’re a reloader who spends a lot of time on the bench tuning different handloads, or a gunsmith who sights in a lot of rifles, I think you’ll find the Bullseye Target Camera system as indispensable a piece of equipment as your chronograph or boresighting tool. Even if you’re just an avid shooter, the system allows you to focus on the reason you came to the range: shooting.
The Bullseye Camera System is compatible with your Windows computer, with smartphone support coming soon. The 500-yard edition sells for a MSRP of $449, while the 1000-yard edition retails for $549. You can find them online here.
Took colleague DeAnna and her 16-year-old daughter Dakota to the range today to try out the Hi Point 9mm carbine I'm reviewing. Both are avid bowhunters, but have never handled a firearm. DeAnna owns a Ruger LCP, which she has only fired twice because she found the recoil unpleasant. After a little instruction, she was fine:
I started both mother and daughter off on KatyBeth's Smith & Wesson M&P 15, and then moved to the Hi Point carbine. After that, they shot the Walther P22, the Kahr CW9, and my officer-length 1911. Shot half a box of ammo through DeAnna's LCP, too.
A couple of my basic shooting premises were confirmed:
- A carbine is easier for a novice to master than a pistol. Both girls had no problem chewing a ragged hole in the target at 30 feet (albeit with a few cheap holographic sight malfunctions), and their best handgun groups were easily three or four times that size at half the range.
- A microcompact handgun or snubby revolver is not – repeat NOT – a ladies' or beginners' gun, any more than a .410 shotgun is an appropriate choice to introduce your kid to wingshooting. They are expert's weapons. DeAnna now carries a weapon she can't shoot, and when asked which gun they'd rather have, a steel-framed 1911 in .45 ACP or a Ruger LCP in .380, both girls chose the 1911 without hesitation.
So much for "Girls can't handle a man's gun." Ladies, if Cletus at the gun counter steers you toward anything with a short barrel, rudimentary sights and pink grips, leave the store and go buy a gun from someone who isn't an idiot. Guys, if you're thinking of buying the female in your life a weapon, stay away from the microcompact semi-autos and snubby revolvers.
As a matter of fact, don't buy them a gun at all.
Instead, take them to the range, get them some competent instruction, and let them shoot a bunch of guns. Then, surprise them with a gift of the pistol they liked best.
You're much more likely that way to create an avid shooter who wants to go to the range with you, instead of one who hates shooting and resents it when you go.
For you Half Life 2 fans, meet Jennifer, aka Alyx Vance.
I know exactly how she feels. Without buying a single item, I could rummage through my gun safe and closets and find enough stuff to dress as Alice from the Resident Evil films.
Hey, don’t judge me. I was going through a Milla Jovovich phase.
Spent a few hours at the range today, doing some T&E of the Savage B Mag and Hi Point 9mm carbine.
Big fun. I think the giggle factor would increase exponentially if I had a bigger mag for the Hi Point.
Yes, I know I'm late getting this done. Sorry, but life intervened.
For those of you who donated to my Kilted to Kick Cancer 2013 fundraising campaign, a $20 donation got you one chance for a $200 Brownell's gift card, and $10 got you a chance at a signed copy of my book.
I entered all participants into an Excel spreadsheet (1 chance got your name entered once, 2 chances got your name entered twice, and so on), and using a random sequence generator from Random.org, I picked the winners. So without further ado:
- Kim Sarasien
- Heath Baus
- Ruth Hoffman
- Jeff Bedosky
Gift card winners:
- Jennifer Romershauser
- Dave Scruggs
- Ruth Hoffman
Check your email inboxes, and if you haven't heard from me by the end of the day, drop me an email with your mailing addresses.
Don’t get me wrong. I know how to splint. I can secure broken bone ends as well as anyone, I suppose.
But you know those artistes that can fashion a traction splint from two rolled magazines, a belt, two popsicle sticks and a pack of Twizzlers?
Yeah, well, I’m not one of those guys. Never was one of those guys, never gonna be one of those guys.
Which probably explains why I spent my last transport with my knee uncomfortably propped under the patient’s left elbow, holding his dislocated shoulder in the position of optimum comfort.
Of course, doping them to the eyeballs before you load them in the rig helps, too. If you’ve got a fracture or dislocation, I’m the medic you want, because I’m going to give you whopping doses of analgesics to make up for my lack of splinting prowess.
Me and Lesbian Partner, with dueling impressions of Ethel Merman singing Lady Gaga tunes.
Fatigue, it’s what’s for dinner.