Sunday, January 6, 2019

Confronting China

I started reading an article on the new policy of confronting China, when I came across a quote that, quite frankly, struck me as hilariously naive.

“Should we simply let ourselves fall into the Thucydides trap?” asked J. Stapleton Roy, a retired U.S. diplomat who was ambassador to China from 1991 to 1995. “Or is it possible that with skillful diplomacy, China could be stronger and more prosperous in 2025 and not a strategic threat to the United States?”

The short answer to the first question is "It depends." The short answer to the second question is "absolutely not."
There is no scenario where a People's Republic of China stronger and more prosperous than the US is not a strategic threat to the US. It's possible that we might avoid the Thucydides trap, but if we do, it'll be because something other than war caused China to stagnate or even lose power. The Republic of China wouldn't be that sort of threat, but there's nothing short of war that'll leave us with ROC control of the mainland. Assuming that the ROC even WANTS control.

The nation that cracks down on Tibetans, builds concentration camps for Uighurs, persecutes religions, and even squashed the completely inoffensive Falun Gong movement (c'mon, they're basically Yoga practitioners) with awful brutality isn't going to play nice on the national stage. They have territorial disputes with pretty much every regional power within their sphere of influence, and blatantly violate international law and the law of the sea in trying to enforce their territorial claims. This is not a country that is just going to rise into power without abusing it in ways that impinge in the strategic security of the US, or, for that matter, pretty much anyone else. This is a country determined to become top dog, by any means fair or foul, and which intends to use that position for it's own gain, to everyone else's detriment.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Using the Windows software for the Midland XTR and SynTech II radios

When programming the Midland XTR and SynTech II radios, you've got two software options, one DOS based, the other Windows based. Obviously there's not built in support for DOS software in modern versions of Windows. Now, for some old radios, DOS software is your only option, but that's not the case with the old Midland XTR and SynTech II lines. It took me a little experimenting, but I found a procedure and setup that works. In the interests of saving everyone some time, I've provided it below:
1. Download and run Msvbvm50.exe. This installs the Microsoft Visual Basic 5 Runtime, which is a hard dependency for this software. It will not run without this installed.
2. Right click on setup.exe and select "Properties"

3. Select the Compatibility tab.






4.Set it to run Program in compatibility mode for Windows NT and to run as Administrator.



5. Click "Apply".
6. Run the setup.exe file and follow the prompt.
7. Plug your USB serial adapter in (assuming you don't have a built in 9 pin serial port)  and open "Device Manager" from the Control panel.
8. Expand "Ports (COM & LPT)" and right click on (what should be) your only COM port.

9. Go to the "Port Settings" tab and fill out the settings as follows:
Bits Per Second: 9600 bps
Data Bits: 8
Parity: None
Stop Bits: 1
Flow Control: Hardware

10. Click on "Advanced" and change settings as applicable;
Use FIFO Buffers is checked
Both Buffers are set as low as possible.
Make sure to remember the COM Port number, since you'll need to enter it into the programming software.
 11. Run the programming software and click on "Options"

12. Select the correct COM port, as applicable.
You're done! That should save everyone a little bit of time.