ShopTalk Sunday: Knowledge Preservation, Prepping

Good news – and bad – about those couple of old, tired, worn-out laptops here.  The good news is they are all screaming fast. Linux does that. The bad is they have forced me to look again – somewhat realistically – at the odds of the Internet going down within the next three years.

As one of our readers told us this week, a friend of his in Chaos Theory says around 2025 the Chaos is coming.  Not that people in Ukraine and Taiwan will not already have gotten their fill of it by then.

Even my consigliere is rather glum.  Putting the odds of national elections being held in 2024 at around (but under) 50-percent.

Which has what to do with the shop, exactly?

Personal Information Inventory

IF we imagine the Internet is likely to fail within four-years, what would your action plan be?  At least in terms of “the shop”?  This is where your tools (and knowledge how to use them) reside.  And where the real tools of prepping and survival have nooks.

Some people have extensive gunsmithing tools.  For them the “prepping” part might include several quart bottles of Hoppe’s #9.  Might also have two or three of those “special tools” to work on Glocks.  That’s on the “supplies” side.  What about the knowledge side?

Getting a gun tuned up and firing just so is an artform. Toward this end, then, you’d want to have digital copies of the manufacturer’s manuals on at least two non-volatile memories (DVDs, right?).  And these would be companions to one of the Linux laptops you’ve made from refurb (cheap) i-5 machines with at least 8 – but preferably 16 – GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD.

Takes a day to get a good build of a used laptop:  Porting over to Linux is not terribly hard.  But the cheap-o machines will need a TB or 2 SSD installed.

For me, this week’s learning curve on LT#2 was figuring out that on an aged Toshiba, the old (78-RPM) HD needed to sit atop an adapter.  Which Crucial mails out on request with your order.

SSD’s Galore

With two laptops – fresh batteries and back-up chargers – plus solar controller backups and some secured panels – the REAL task begins to crystalize:  Before you can burn DVDs of critical manuals, you first need to find them and convert (if not already) into .PDF files.

We have about half a dozen such SSDs.  They all run on USB 3.0 so reasonable file transfer times, plus they fall back to USB 2.0.

As you’re collecting manuals, you’ll need a digital organizing schema.  One of the SSDs is collecting “guns and weapons.”

Under this topic (G&W) under Guns, it will be laid out by Manufacturer.  Which results in folders for Mossberg, Ruger, Glock, and several Russian makers of AK “sporterized” carbines and SKS launchers. Then there are the quiet practice tools:  These are the pellet and BB gun references.

Under the W folder, you might find the ratio of a certain laundry soap to measure of gasoline.  Not that we’d ever actually want to make napalm, but who knows what future needs will be?  (Anyone study ethanol use in napalm?)

So far, it’s an enjoyable two weekend deal.  Because as you go through the Information Collection Process, you’re bound to see some “gunsmithing tool” that you don’t already have three of.

Or, you just click over to Amazon and notice KNINE Outdoors has a 36% off deal going on this kit.  While they you see the Hoppe’s gun vise is on sale, too. Or, do you just keep muddling-through with nylon vise inserts?

Eventually, the flights of fantasy run out. Or the credit card limit is hit.

You’re Not Done

So far, we have only used one of the USB SSDs.  Eventually, you will finish getting a “deep enough” collection of what are “shop manuals” for everything in the military inventory plus anything ever so much as mentioned in the old Field & Stream issues snagged on eBay.  (Oddly, little DVD action on these, though one seller has a 183-issue collection on USB.)

I’m not much of a gunsmith.  My skills fall apart much over 50-meters (eyes, right?) and cleaning guns is not my idea of a good time.  Nor is making loud noises out on the range.  Why, every time a round goes downrange, all I hear is another dollar flying away.

Having decided to build a collection of “useful legacy knowledge, the list of really critical knowledge began to fall into place:

  • Water harvesting is critical.
  • Food growing has been underway for several months now.  One result was the Peoplenomics prepping guide (“No BS Survival Gardening”).
  • Energy is in the guide to “Power in the 2nd Depression“.
  • How to make an armed drone?

Water, food and energy are all likely to land on a single SSD.  That’s because there’s not enough written on water collection (that’s not basically rewrite of someone else’s key insights).

Food comes down to basic process maps (everything does) – so a relatively low number of books will cover most things here.  Especially if you have a good Ag Extension Service because they have tons of useful guides – many of which are region-specific.  After that, gardening (no till, heavy mulch for minimum weeds) is mainly work and weatering.

The Big Ponder this week is how to handle general shop knowledge?

Traditionally, the materials used has been one organization break point.  In other words, you had woodworking, metalworking, CNC and 3D.  The other information sort has been on “Product Requirement” (take Housing, for example) and then under that, each of the trades:  Site prep, foundation, framing, roofing, plumbing, electrical, finish carpentry, and how to set up a moving company!

In the real-life – Internet goes down, ending retailing, banking, seed-buying and all that future – the question is how bad will it get?  And how quickly?

Unanswerable questions, sorry to say.  But a good collection of forward knowledge to pass on to G2 seems doable.

Oh, and don’t forget one SSD worth of military manuals!  I just ordered a USB drive with 344 military Field Manuals.  But don’t just order “big raw numbers” in bulk.  Because I’m willing to bet $13.89 that there will also be good value in an order of 36 Antique Field Manuals 1900-1913.

The reason for this is that much of the modern era is built on a foundation of power and communications.  If the arrival of Chaos is only a few years distant, that supporting framework could be crumbled pretty effectively.  When it goes, we will all be back to “farm and village life” where things stood a hundred (or more) years ago.

That kind of thinking (the unthinkable) is what is driving the next Peoplenomics prepping guide.  Because when the crappe hits the fan, we will likely see the “instant death” of “intellectual property.”  There won’t be any demand, whatsoever, for specious time sinks like “internet influencer” or “agile software developer.”  Law becomes iffy.

One big switch.  For those who haven’t read the book One Second After, it’s getting late.  So, have fun with all the woke bullshit, reverse racism, and Biden swallowing. Love the taxes while we have ’em.  Wait patiently for change, using time to prepare your thinking skills and resources.

Try to remember there was an old man who told you once “In the end, it comes down to what you can actually DO – not what you THINK you can do.”

Society has a ruling class of theoreticians. Only for now.

Unplugged, we have doers who will rule next.   Karl Marx meets Dave Beck and gets his ass whupped. Labor’s return is at hand – soon as the lights get dimmed and the erudite intellectuals try to feast on their theoretical nonsense.

Ure Actual is off to fix a cranky OCFD antenna now and continue his parsing of go-forward information.  Never stop grinding.

Write when you get rich,

PS: I picked up a GMRS license this week for the ranch so our little “outback farmers association” can have better coms when things get rough.  Everyone’s a weather sensor when the ill winds blow.

47 thoughts on “ShopTalk Sunday: Knowledge Preservation, Prepping”

  1. The horror . Ads in sheethole oztralia to farm genes from 18 to 40 yo for Frankenstein science . What more you say . Satan wins

  2. “Food for five years, a thousand gallons of gas, air filtration, water filtration, Geiger counter. Bomb shelter! …underground. God damn monsters.” -Bert Gummer

  3. “Might also have two or three of those “special tools” to work on Glocks.”

    ?????? so would a special tool be a key ring on the butt of the nug.. or a hammer head…
    Glock isn’t worth anything if you don’t have brass or primers..kind of like my nail gun.. without nails..its not worth a thing..

    here is a good starter book..

  4. I submit the internet is already in the process of a “slow failure” right now.
    It’s got WAY too many “ornaments” to operate cleanly and recoverably now. Putting important stuff “in the cloud,” is a cosmically stupid idea from a reliability view. Can’t reach the cloud, can’t reach your stuff. Simple. (Not to mention apps that MUST phone home before they’ll even function. The Rent-Your-Life people will constantly “improve” this cramp as well.)

    (I run some old software that I have original installation CDs and product ID codes for — so I can rebuild in isolation. Yeah, it’s old, but it does all what I need to do very nicely, thank you. Got a few idle Dell i5 lappys in semi-storage, too. Set up and working. Break ’em out, charge ’em up, check the clocks, and put ’em back on the shelf every now & then. All my “stuff” is on three identical 1TB USB SSDs. I got a fighting chance of some continuity, at least…)

    I think the internet made it’s slightly time-smeared peak of value-function maybe five to eight years ago — and has been gaining vast masses of kelp and barnacles (myriad inefficiencies and dangers) on it’s bottom ever since.

    I visited a certain “news” site a few days ago, and it was peppered with at least eleven running silent viddy-oes, and a barge-load of animated ads. UGLY beyond ken, and S*L*O*W because of all the dross. At least a score of different typefaces and colors and flashy stupid pointless effects.

    Then there’s the criminals, hucksters, liars, and psycho bug-launchers. And the endless tracking and snooping.

    No. It’s gone. (…and going.) Slow death by digital arteriosclerosis.

    • “It’s got WAY too many “ornaments” to operate cleanly and recoverably now.”

      Some of us have been saying this for 25 years…

      (I run some old software that I have original installation CDs and product ID codes for — so I can rebuild in isolation.

      Ditto (although I was a builder, so I would.)

      Computer things to remember if a “Walking Dead” living environment goes hot:

      Wintel computers older than the Intel Pentium 166 and AMD K-5 can not support USB; Apple computers older than the G-3 can not support USB. Operating systems older than Windows 95 OSR2.1 and MacOS8.1 cannot support USB; OSR2.5 and 8.3 are necessary for full support (of USB-1.) I mention this because it’s incredibly rare to find a Wintel box from 1995 or older, but there are still 100s of thousands of Apple IIe computers doing menial tasks in college and business environments, where prevailing thought is they’ll never be replaced until they fail — 10-40 years from now.

      Take care of your equipment, because if you have to dig a functional one out of some burned-out building somewhere, it may not support any data storage device more modern than a CD-ROM (or it may support USB, but only up to 4Mb…)

    • When I was teaching myself *.HTML coding, I learned a great deal from a website called “All Things Web” ( – yes, after nearly 30 years I still remember the URL) which was the personal page of one of the w3 gurus. His teaching (and w3’s recommendation) was that a web page should be kept under 28k in size, graphics should be optimized and used sparingly, and animations & scripts should be kept to a minimum and located in a segregated area exclusive of the site’s actual content.

      I doubt one “web coder” in 10,000 today, even knows what the “216 browser-safe colors” are, or their significance…

      The fastest machine I’ve ever used was an AST 386-SX/25 running DOS 6.0, Windows 3.11/Win32S and browsing with Netscape 2.1. It would go from “off” to “booted and on the Internet” in 17 seconds, using a Hayes dialup modem.

      All page loads were blazing fast. NS2 did not support scripting or any animation which was not a *.GIF, so all such content was ignored. The kiddies (and Adobe Page Mill) hadn’t figured out how to use scripting to deny access for browsers which didn’t accept scripting, so stuff “just worked…”

      The reason I ran Opera for years (and installed it as a secondary browser on my builds) was because scripting and “rich content” were user-controllable via button toggles on the status bar. That was a lesson I learned from that old AST and nutscrape2. There are add-ons for most current browsers which give them some of the user control and functionality of the old Opera browser. I’m way past the point where I’ll betatest them to figure out which ones are useful. I fought that battle and Ned Ludd won…

      If’fn you ever want to see a REAL hypertext trainwreck, go visit any Pac-Rim commerce site. They set the standard toward which our page coders strive.

  5. (Anyone study ethanol use in napalm?)
    If you are serious – “I know a guy.”
    ., but there are heavy consequences for it usage. Fire suppression., especially in your locale would be an outright, bitch.

      • Exactly G….AMEN…
        I know how collected the information read the books but refuse to do anything that could be dangerous..
        The worst mistake I made was in showing the kids how to smelt iron melt stone etc.. for potential tool building.. instead they were zapping everything.. so I took it away and we made a freezer using the sun to power it..
        My home made stump remover scared me…and it was only a quarter tsp..and a firecracker.. never again

      • And before paper, disks and cards … people relied on writing on stone. Worked well, I love the pretty cave paintings too. :)

    • Would it make a difference.. if the studies are correct and there’s only half a million people left.. who would actually care.. the hierarchy will change from what we have now to one of the past where the strongest is the leader

    • Paper is much better, until it’s not. It has to be stored where it can’t burn, and should be sealed in an acid-free nitrogen environment (go see how really valuable comic books and baseball cards are stored.)

      USB drives burn also, as does optical media, but they don’t generally get moldy or need a nitrogen environment…

  6. Hi, George,

    Thank you for always sharing your insight and experience with your readers. Indeed, the book, One Second After, is a must read. I read it some years ago when it became available. It stresses that community is essential, that folks who depend upon certain meds, like insulin, are in trouble, and that folks who struggle with weight problems will loose pounds and become more fit from all the activity that will be required. In some instances, life might resemble what the Amish have, without certain rules and required clothing style. You are correct when you say that folks who are woke, as such, and who have no survival skills, will become catatonic and/or will refuse to believe that their new circumstances is the new reality. Also, the book highly recommends guards posted to perimeters and to be aware of the lawlessness that may well erupt. Thanks.

    • I’m with you, Nancy on recommending “One Second After” and another book, or actually series of books, is “Dies the Fire” in which the physics of Earth changes so that electricity no longer works nor does gunpowder. All the sudden…without warning.

    • Exactly Nancy.. the colonies will essentially be the survivor’s.. they think live work and play as a community..
      When FEMA asked all the smaller towns to create an emergency plan.. the mayor of our town asked me to help with it..
      I suggested community plan.. know your neighbors hobbies and carriers.. how many knit how many sew who’s the hunter who’s the fishermen..everyone has value.. and are geniuses in their own lives..
      In years past there was the welcome wagon.. today most of that has left.. we live in a work a day world where the only thing that matters is self..
      Three times I have been in the death spiral.. the first ones to leave are those closest to you.. not because they don’t care but they don’t know what to do or say..
      The most giving person lived in a dumpster most of his life..
      It was either stanford or Harvard that did a study on homeless. The assumption was that they were all drunks and drug addicts.. handed out money and watched as those getting t he money went to help those around them..
      They did the same thing in a wealthy neighborhood.. the end result wasn’t the same..

    • My church faith at one time was like the they’ve split into me groups..many only attend for the symbols to show yet live and treat others different when away from the church..
      Sold their faith for a number. That’s sad..but if you read the diaries of the original founders up till today you can see the changes took place gradually through time.. deregulation and pushing the seven day work week has distanced society from the avenues of moral and ethical learning

    • HA! OSA. How many times have I recommended that series – and once perhaps less than a month ago? Yer welcome, George.

  7. Before computers and the internet, people kept paper copies of deeds, titles, receipts and registration documents which provided proof of ownership, and proof that taxes and bills had been paid. Relying on third parties to maintain those documents in digital format in a remote server farm whose physical location is unknown is foolhardy. Keep paper documents. Copies of deeds and titles should be kept for life of ownership, under lock and key. Registrations should be kept for life of ownership. Keeping tax documents for seven years to life is smart. Keep ordinary bills at least two years. One strategy is to keep the end of year billing back 7 additional years, then toss the rest (after shredding, of course). Insurance policies and proof of insurance should be maintained for the duration.
    Don’t put identity documents in the trash. Either shred or burn anything with your name on it. I tear out address labels before I toss anything, then burn a bag of ’em yearly. Of course, you will have to make adjustments for tiny or apartment living.

    In the event you must bug out, proof of insurance, deeds, titles & tax documents going back 7 years get first berth, and copies of latest bills for everything else should go with you. Password records should also go with you, in addition to ID’s, credit cards and checkbooks. Try to avoid leaving anything behind a looter can use against you, both physical and identity-wise. And you say, “how do I fit that into the trunk of my compact car?”. And the answer is, you don’t. I made that mistake once in the past. You either have an oversized vehicle, or you tow a small trailer (my choice).

    I have never bugged out on foot with what I could carry on my back. I would expect proof of insurance, ID’s, credit cards, passwords, at least one check book, and a copy of deeds & titles would be the minimum. A single page with account numbers for everyone you pay money to (and current balance) would probably be helpful if you have time to jot it down. Bug-outs tend to be hastily improvised, I will acknowledge, and never go according to an imagined script. Be wary.

    • “Try to avoid leaving anything behind a looter can use against you, both physical and identity-wise. ”


      You’re recommending a thermite charge for hard drives of stationary computers?

    • Bear in-mind, unless you’re bugging out of a workplace to reach your home base, stuff is likely to be so bad that insurance, bank accounts, and titles or deeds will be null and void, or will become so within days.

      • It depends on why you are bugging out. Weather and natural disasters are at the top of the list (hurricane and fire). In the more extreme sorts of occurrences where a major die-off is under way, it may be months or years before the paperwork comes back into play, if ever. It is unlikely you will know the true severity of the situation as you head out the door.

      • True. I have no confidence in “insurance”, even in good times. The best you can expect is that they will provide a lawyer to keep you from collecting, or one to keep someone else from collecting in case of a liability suit.

        I’ve always wondered how people and families maintain title to property during bad times, wars, revolutions, and geopolitical change. I’m sure that possession counts for a lot, but I’d like to backstop that. Portable and durable assets should be where you can reach them with difficulty, and others cannot.

      • “I’ve always wondered how people and families maintain title to property during bad times, wars, revolutions, and geopolitical change.”

        Y’know, that’s an excellent ponder, and I haven’t the foggiest. Maybe LOOB has an idea from the diaries and journals he’s read…?

      • I live on land that has been in the family since the 1880’s. Keep up with your paperwork, gentlemen. Bureaucracies, and courts, run on a paper diet in all jurisdictions.

  8. Question posted:
    “And what will you miss the most?”
    Me: Giant, garlic stuffed green olives.
    “Come on, d’Lynn. I was being serious.”
    Me: I am deadly serious. I’m addicted. I don’t want to go through all that withdraw crap., and Seven Step Rehab., with weekly support meetings. That is pretty much the end of civilization as far as I am concerned.

  9. “In the end, it comes down to what you can actually DO – not what you THINK you can do.”

    That’s the station I’m at in my life, and it’s getting notably worse by the day. (I’ve never seen an old preacher on TV
    preaching about this so called: “LOVE OF GOD.” ;-))

    Btw. NO choices left!

  10. With the drought and cattle sell off happening now, beef prices are temporarily lowered. Now is a good time to pick up some freeze dried cooked hamburger for long term storage. Good for 25 years. I’m sure it will be needed long before that. After the cattle are gone, and the depression deepens, beef will become unobtainium.

  11. George, you are absolutely right about Linux conversions, but ever try it on older machines? I’ve got an old Gateway 7210 Server with 6 SCSI’s, two ATA HDD’s; two SSD’s (uses an adapter), two DVD’s, a ZIP drive and a floppy! This machine would seem slow, with TWO Pentitum III 600mhz slot processors, but not so shabby and built like a battleship. The big hold-up is the onboard video, which can be conquered with a better card.

    The machine dual boots XP Pro and MX-21 (32bit) Linux and is fast either way, more than enough for archiving. The MX-21 32bit is very adaptable to older machines. If one is doing online work, the choice of browsers can be an obstacle (security issues, etc.) but MX-21 offers options. More users looking for ways to archive should try it!

  12. “How to make an armed drone?”

    Gunpowder grenade
    timed wick line (fuse)
    remote throw system
    cheap & dirty, and anyone can do it.
    Shrapnel can be anything from nails to BBs.

    If you have a large-enough drone you can fit a customized Mini-14 in .22LR. ‘Thing is, if you have a large enough drone to take the recoil from, even a .22, you have a large enough drone that infantry can shoot it down.

    • Regarding recoil, think dynamic recoil compensation, or a similar projectile that shoots in the opposite direction. Crude, but it should work.

  13. “Because when the crappe hits the fan, we will likely see the “instant death” of “intellectual property.””

    We’ll also see the “instant death” of ownership of IP. Emphasis will be “SURVIVE, by any possible means and survival knowledge will supersede and supplant any possible “ownership” of that knowledge.

  14. It’s good to see J. P. Sears moving up in the World as a comedian –
    Comedy Break With JP Sears: “Unknown Cause is the Leading Cause of Death”

    “People are dropping like flies” making it the “leading cause of death in Alberta, Canada. Which is ruled over by Justin Trudeau.”. The Jab is doing its job, still, out there so if you’ve been jabbed being a couch potato may finally be you salvation. Most of those collapsing are athletes who put tremendous pressure on their hearts.

  15. Here’s an easy way to convert all of your ebooks and similar files to pdf: First download Calibre and install it. It’s a bit clumsy to figure out the user interface, but not that bad. THEN set the Calibre reader as default for all of those odd formats – epub, mobi, etc. It may or may not accept Kindle content without hacks – I’ve not had to crack that nut and don’t have time for it.

    The key is that when you open an ebook in any of those differing formats, you can then “print” it to pdf. On my screen, it’s the button at the bottom on the left. Change the default directory to where you want it, and then “print” it. I’ve found that it renders a cleaner pdf than some of the online convert sites. Of course, YMMV.

    Once you have pdfs, you can organize and search them.

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