June 16th, 2009

Inexpensive Stick-On Lenses Help Older Eyes

The majority of competitive shooters in many disciplines are over 40, with a high percentage over 50 years old. That’s a lot of old eyes which may have trouble reading small print. Shooters who are far-sighted, and older shooters with presbyopia, may have difficulty focusing on close objects. At the range, this may make it difficult to read range cards, printed come-up tables, or even the “fine print” found in manuals for chronographs and other shooting accessories.

Magnifier lens stick-on

Here’s a solution for shooters who need better close-up vision. For just $10.50 per pair, Amazon.com sells stick-on inserts that mount to any glass or plastic lenses, including polycarbonate shooting glasses. Water is the adhesive–the surface tension effect of H20 is enough to keep the lens inserts in place. But this also lets you easily move the magnifying lenses from one set of glasses to another. ReadingGlasses.com offers the Optx 20/20 stick-on lenses for $18.00 (or $29.00 for two pair). Magellan’s, a popular travel accessory store, sells the same Optx 20/20 Lenses, Item #BA726, for $24.85 per pair. Magellan’s notes: “Flexible Optx 20/20 lenses hold fast by their own molecular attraction (no adhesive needed) and can be peeled off and reattached many times”. The video below shows how the stick-on lenses work.

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June 16th, 2009

U.S. Customs Rule Change May Block Importation of Folding Knives

The American Knife and Tool Institute (AKTI) recently warned Americans of a U.S. Customs’ proposal to re-interpret the Switchblade Knife Act of 1958. The USCBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) has proposed a new standard that would bar importation of any knife with “release-assisted” opening. AKTI fears this could be applied to a wide variety of commonly-used knives including those with a finger stud or thumb-hole to allow one-handed opening.

Customs proposes to criminalize modern assisted-opening knives by defining them as “switchblades” under federal law. AKTI cautions: “The U.S. Customs’ proposal indicates it is directed at only the importers of assisted-opening knives. However, the language used in their revocation document is so broad and uses virtually every term ever applied to any knife that opens with one hand. We fear that they are attempting to bypass the will of Congress and that once they succeed in getting assisted-openers defined as switchblades, they could move against all folding knives. These include multi-tools, traditional pocket knives, one-hand openers, and assisted-openers.”

Smith Wesson folding knife

To learn more about this issue, visit the AKTI website. The AKTI has prepared form letters you can send to your legislators. You can also write directly to USCBP at:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Office of International Trade, Regulations and Rulings
Attention: Intellectual Property and Restricted Merchandise Branch
Mint Annex, 799 Ninth St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20229

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June 16th, 2009

New 'Google Squared' Search Delivers Tables of Data

Google has launched an innovative, web-based search function that delivers a wealth of information in data-rich tables. Now when you search you can get more than just a list of websites. Called Google Squared, the new system delivers a collection of search results in a chart (table) format. The chart will contain a variety of different clickable entries, such as article titles, photos, product descriptions, and prices. Google Squared returns a huge amount of information and data from a single search.

Link: www.Google.com/squared

While Google Squared can search virtually any topic from Astrophysics to Zoology, we’ve found it can be very useful when researching firearms subjects or searching for shooting products. Shown below are the results of a search for “Spotting Scope”. By default, data is grouped in six columns. However, Google Squared allows you to add other data columns, and Google can even “intelligently” suggest choices for additional columns. In this example, Google suggested Eye Relief, Magnification, Exit Pupil, Lens Coating, and Prism System — all important optical parameters. That’s pretty smart! You can also delete any column of data if it’s not needed.

Spotting Scopes

Google Squared can also be used to research a particular product or do price comparison searches. Shown below are the Google Squared results for “RCBS Chargemaster”:

RCBS Chargemaster

Google Squared is still in the development stages, but it promises to be a useful tool for veteran web users. Give it a try, and see how it performs for you.

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