Fixing the Mute Switch on the iPhone 7+

My iPhone 7+ is subject to being accidentally muted. This problem is easily solved with a small piece of tape but, frankly, that looks a bit tacky. I’m working on some new designs and have developed prototypes. Which one looks best? Would Apple be interested in buying the rights?


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KWA M226 (Sig P226 Replica)

KWA is a manufacturer of airsoft guns. More specifically, KWA manufactures very accurate replicas of real firearms – both rifles and pistols.  I have several of their products and like them very much.  My latest is their replica of the Sig P226 and I’ve made a little video using it.  See .

An oddity, to me anyway, discovered during testing is that the velocity from the M226 is low after first charging the magazine. After the first few shots, velocity increases and then remains relatively constant.

I plan to do some additional testing with heavier BBs and varied charging techniques.

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My Craftsman Tool Box

When I was a Junior in high school, my parents gave me a set of Craftsman tools. I still have them; in fact, I still have all of them.  One day my dad put my young son up to asking me how many of those tools I had lost.  I replied, “Well, none” and my dad just laughed – says something or other about me, I suppose.  Until recently, I’d never lost a pocketknife either but that’s another story.

The story behind my Craftsman tools is that we had an old Chevy, my dad’s “work car” that needed an engine overhaul. When my dad was not using the car, I considered to be my car.  Of course, my sister considered it her car but, again, another story.

With the new tools, my dad’s guidance and funding, my friend David Ayers and I went to work on the old Chevy. We didn’t have a garage so the overhaul was done in the front yard.  We didn’t have a means for removing the engine so we removed the hood and left the engine in place.  Our primary objective was to replace the piston rings and re-seat the valves.  Soon the engine was completely disassembled – and that’s when the weather turned cold and the snow began to fall.

South Mississippi does not get much snow but David and I had the bad luck to schedule an outdoor overhaul during a record snowfall.   The snowfall was 5 to 12 inches in South Mississippi and temperatures were in the low 20s.

My dad needed the car to return to work but, more importantly, David and I had arranged for a “double date”. We needed that car – and soon.  My mother still laughs about the memory of David and I working in the snow for a while then coming into the house, standing over the floor furnace to warm up, drinking hot chocolate and then returning to the job.   We did manage to get the car working in time for my dad to use it but without a car and with heavy snow on the ground the dates were cancelled.

That set of Craftsman tools is a box full of memories.

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Handgun Safeties

Real and replica guns showing safeties


I’ve made and posted a video about various safety mechanisms used in hand guns. Now, I’m no expert on guns – not even an Internet Expert.  In fact, much of what is shown was unknown to me until relatively recently.  Realizing my ignorance about safeties, I studied up a bit.  Realizing that many others were also confused, I decided to put my findings into this video.  After all, a good way to learn something is to prepare to teach it to others.

This is not a video about gun safety features such as drop safeties or even gun safety rules and procedures.  It is just an overview of hand gun safety mechanisms.

To demonstrate the various types of safeties, I’ve gathered a hodge-podge of real firearms and replicas. All of the guns shown have been safety checked and are unloaded.

I have to say that making a video — even a YouTube video — is not easy especially if you choose to use two cameras, an external audio recorder and mix in some PowerPoint slides.  I learned a lot while making the video and plan to do a few more.

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GoFundMe for John Crane Employees in Baton Rouge

I worked for John Crane Inc. for 28 years and retired nearly two years ago.  The “Great Flood of 2016” has affected a number of my previous co-workers but, fortunately, not me.  A fund has been established to help the John Crane employees in the Baton Rouge office.  Please consider contributing to the fund:


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The Great Flood of 2016

Ascension Parish Flood Zones 2

First of all, my family and I are OK; in fact, relatively unaffected.  We didn’t even lose power or cable/internet service.  ATT Wireless was out of service for about a day but our land line was working.  We are inconvenienced in that many roads are blocked, stores closed, etc.  To some degree, our immediate area is an island.

What is now being called the “Great Flood of 2016” began as rainfall on about August 11 and the rains continued for four days (more or less, depending on location). The rainfall is usually summarized as two feet of rain in 48 hours.

Here in Ascension Parish (south of Baton Rouge), there are about 15,000 homes flooded with some 5,000 people in shelters. Some homes had only a few inches of water but many had several feet of water and some were submerged to the roof line.  Many people were evacuated – typically by the “Cajun Navy” (volunteers in their fishing boats).  Ascension Parish is one of the 30 parishes expected to be declared disaster areas.

Even the governor, John Bel Edwards, and his family were evacuated from the governor’s mansion in Baton Rouge.

Many of the major rivers in the area are at record levels and exceed the previous records of 1983.

Interstate highway I-10 (towards New Orleans) is flooded in enough places that it is essentially not useable. Interstate I-12 is flooded for many miles, especially around the towns of Denham Springs and Walker.

Livingston Parish was among the hardest hit. The estimate is that three-fourths of the houses there were destroyed – among them some of our good friends.

What a mess!



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Schofield #3 Top Break Revolver

Schofield #3 Replica Revolver

Schofield #3 Replica Revolver

I enjoy collecting and shooting airgun replicas of real pistols. My most recent addition is the Schofield #3 top break revolver.

About 1870, Smith & Wesson developed a top break revolver. An Army Ordnance officer, Major George W. Schofield of the 10th Cavalry, modified it to fit his needs and Smith and Wesson incorporated his modifications into the design in 1875.  They named the new design the “Schofield”.  Smith and Wesson produced variations of their #3 revolver until 1915.


This airgun replica of the Schofield No. 3 Revolver is imported from Taiwan by Bear River. It has:

  • 8 Inch Barrel
  • BBs
  • 435 FPS
  • 12g CO2 Powered

The Schofield actually preceded the famous Colt Single Action Army pistol which was introduced 1873. Colt’s Single Action Army (and it’s clones and reproductions) is still being manufactured.

Years later, another top break revolver, the Webley Mark I, was adopted by the British Army in 1887 and was manufactured until 1963.

Here’s my YouTube video:


Bear River Description and Specifications:

Pyramyd Air Review:

Pyramyd Air Ratings:


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Michael Reichmann (1945 – 2016)

The internationally renowned photographer, writer and founder of the website Luminous-Landscape, Michael Reichmann, has died at the age of 71.  More information, condolences and remembrances can be seen at the following sites:

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The Great Ramen Noodle Salad Experience


Growing tired of my own cooking, I’ve been searching for new – preferably healthy – dishes.  I recalled a salad that my sister, Kathy, made a few years ago and asked for the recipe.  She said it was easy so I decided to try my hand at “Ramen Noodle Salad”.

Finding Ramen Noodles at the grocery store was much more difficult than I thought.  In fact, I was tempted to buy Ramen Noodle soup and just use the noodles in my salad.  But no, that wouldn’t do – I could imagine the teasing.  Besides, those soup noodles were probably favored with chicken or something.  I continued my search for the real thing.  Suddenly, there in front of me, by the spaghetti, were packs of Ramen Noodles!  Not ordinary noodles either; these were organic, whole grain noodles even though they looked like very thin spaghetti to me.  I double checked the package and read, again, Ramen Noodles — Check. The rest of the ingredients were easy to find although I had to substitute sunflower seeds for sesame seeds.  Time to make the salad.

Kathy had said to break up the noodles into small pieces so I worked them over with the rolling pin to get little “sticks” of noodles.  The next step was to brown the noodles in butter. I sensed the beginning of problems when I dumped the noodle sticks into the hot frying pan.  For one thing, the pan was too small but I didn’t want to get another one dirty.  Besides, the noodle sticks on the bottom were “browning” a bit quickly so I had to stand there and stir, stir and stir.  Kathy hadn’t mentioned that but she probably used a larger frying pan. In spite of my best efforts, the noodle sticks were over cooked (OK, burnt).

The rest of the ingredients (shredded cabbage, onions, oil, vinegar, etc.) were combined while waiting for the noodle sticks to cool.  At last, I combined everything and took a big bite.  Not good – tasted like burnt fried spaghetti!

Obviously something was wrong with my technique so I searched YouTube for the secret method.  Although I didn’t find anything on YouTube, I finally realized that I was making a slaw instead of a salad and that I’d put too much emphasis on the “Ramen Noodles”.  To my surprise, I also realized that I was supposed to use Ramen Noodle soup!  Also, many recipes do not call for any cooking at all – the crushed noodles are simply added to the slaw.  Other recipes call for lightly toasting the noodles, almonds and sesame seeds in the oven.

Now it’s back to the grocery store for real Ramen Noodles and another try but this time NO COOKING!

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Loading the 12 Shot Uberti Cattleman

Load 3

The Uberti 1873 Single Action Cattleman is a replica of the famous 1873 Colt Single Action Army (SAA) revolver that became known as the Peacemaker. Whereas the original Colt held 6 rounds of .45 caliber cartridges, this particular Uberti replica is chambered in 22 Long Rifle and holds 12 rounds.

Like the original, this replica has the firing pin mounted on the hammer. And it is possible to have the firing pin sitting on a live cartridge. For safety, the recommended practice is to load the gun such that the firing pin rested on an empty chamber.   For a six shooter, the recommended loading procedure is “load one, skip one, load four more”.  This is sometimes called the “John Wayne load” because John Wayne referred to loading only five rounds in his movie “True Grit”; however, the practice of loading five predates the movie.

The instruction manual for the twelve shot Uberti 1873 Cattleman is actually for the six shot version and even includes the “load one, skip one, load four more” procedure. However, this is not the correct procedure for the 12 shot version.  For the 12 shot version, the loading procedure should be “load three, skip one, load eight”.

Here’s my video showing how to load the 12 shot version of a Uberti Cattleman so that the firing pin rests on an empty chamber.

Load 3, Skip 1

For more information, see

History of the Colt SAA:

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