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Monday 19 August 2002

Death to the SA80 [Lurks]

The BBC is reporting that the British Army's SA80-A2 standard infantry rifle is still 'mis firing' even after the £92 million of modifications which have been made to it after complaints on the first model. The SA80 is a bit of a running gag, on one hand is a brave and solid bullpup design that's renowned for being accurate, but on the other hand it's littered with design flaws. The first model had a magazine catch that was notoriously easy to snag on clothing resulting in the magazine dropping out. Then there was the other amusing issue of the choice of plastic dissolving when exposed to the standard issue insect repellant.

Anyhow this new model, the SA80-A2, was introduced this year and saw action for the first time in Afghanistan. It appears that three official failures have been recorded and other servicemen have gone on record claiming that 'the new model still jammed and could not cope with extreme heat, cold, sand or dust.'

This is not good. The SA80 is a symbol of British troops, they look easily as distinctive as the yanks M4s. However I think it's rather a bit more important that your armed forces be equipped with functioning technology ahead of some sort of aesthetically pleasing national icon. I think it's time that they packed it in. It's time to get a proper rifle and there's plenty on the market. I think the choice is clear, the H&K G36 or the Steyr AUG. The former is extremely modern and just being introduced as a national firearm in some European countries, the latter is a well proven rock solid performer but both are modular and so suitable for conversion to support and sniper configurations in the field.

I say it's time to ditch that heavy old jamming piece of shite, how about our troops become renowned for sporting assault rifles that actually work instead. That's bound to give the enemy more pause for thought.

Saturday 3 August 2002

MP3 Masterclass [Am]

I'm an audio junky - love it. Just neeeeed to fiddle when it comes to audio and it gives me much satisfaction to spend time in Cubase VST composing obnoxious ditties. Anyway, one of the losses in the Great Meltdown of '02 was my personal mp3 collection - approximately 80 cd's ripped from my own collection onto hard-disk. As a result now Guiness Mk II is up and running, I needed to get my ripping prog back and running. Audiocatalyst has been bought out by Real and of course the website is now a foul kludge yielding circular menus, suffocating pop-up and no fucking information of any worth whatsoever.

As a result I had no way, it appeared, of getting my key back for AC. This in fact turned out to be a very very very good thing indeed.

Lurks is insanely helpful...when he wants to be ;) .... and today I picked up an absolutely awesome set of tips and tricks from him which I *have* to share with y'all.

First out - there is an absolute beaut of a *free* mp3, wav, mpeg encoder out there called cdex - Yes free. The process is as follows;

Get CDex, next find yourself a copy of force aspi - the necessary driver behind this in essence Install forceaspi, check the installation is correct using the utility on that page. Then go to where you will have access to what is frankly guru-standard information about the ripping process and mp3's - check the ripping & quality tabs for a start. This is a goldmine.

The upshot of this is a free, totally configurable ripper which allows you to code quickly on the fly or to use intensive algor...err.. ripping processes like the r3mix one which encode to a quality which is indistinguishable from cd but at heavy savings to wav filesize.

Lurks owe you a beer - that's a fantastic set of resources. And the rest of you lot? Stop using that piece of crap grabber and get out there and 'dex.