Shared posts

17 Feb 19:50

Forget the Gladiator. This Is the Jeep Pickup We Want

Like manuals? This one has four shift levers for you to wield.

17 Feb 19:49

The Cheapest Off-Road SUV to Own Is Also One of Our Favorites

16 Feb 17:09

How To Do Things

A modern DIY treatise, it is not. Returned to print as part of its 100th anniversary, How to Do Things: A Timeless Guide to a Simpler Life is equal parts...

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14 Feb 17:48

The French Dispatch

The French Dispatch
For his latest film, Wes Anderson is showcasing his love for the The New Yorker and all things journalism. The story will take place in 20th-century France and centers around...

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14 Feb 17:47

Coleen x Aston Martin E-Bike

French e-bike maker Coleen has the perfect companion for your Aston Martin DB4 in Sanction Green. Based on their Composer model, the collaboration sports special Aston Martin racing green paint...

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14 Feb 17:46

One man’s quest to bring the DeLorean back to life

by Tom Bartlett

Running across a DeLorean on the road is like spotting a rare bird in the wild: The brushed stainless-steel exterior, the gullwing doors that open toward the sky. It’s the souped-up sports car that needed 1.21 gigawatts of electricity to take Michael J. Fox back to the future. You can’t help but stare.

It’s a strange vehicle with an even stranger automotive history.

Heralded as revolutionary upon its release in 1981, the car sold poorly and was plagued by mechanical problems. It didn’t help when its charismatic creator, John DeLorean, got mixed-up in a $24m cocaine bust.

While the products of most failed companies fade into oblivion, the DeLorean has held onto its head-turning allure nearly four decades after its debut. It’s a debacle that spawned a legend. 

And if Stephen Wynne, a Texas entrepreneur, gets his way, you will soon be able to buy a brand new DeLorean — one that makes up for the shortcomings of the original and picks up where its namesake left off.

A legend is born

 

Before he named a car after himself, John DeLorean was a bright young engineer at General Motors who aggressively pushed the automotive giant to appeal to younger, hipper customers.

In the 1960s, DeLorean moved the company’s Pontiac division away from the boxy behemoths it had been producing and pioneered sexy numbers like the Tempest, the GTO, and the Firebird. At 40, he became the youngest division head in GM’s history. 

Along the way, he also acquired a reputation for being brash, not listening to higher-ups, and working every angle to get his way. After an unedited version of a speech he made criticizing GM execs leaked to the press, he was out of a job.

So, DeLorean decided to start his own car company.

John DeLorean poses with an early DeLorean car in San Francisco in the early 1980s (photo: Roger Ressmeyer/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Launched in 1975, the DeLorean Motor Company sought to build a sports car unlike anything else on the road.

With his resume, DeLorean was able to secure $200m in funding ($950m in 2019 dollars), with backing from the British government and celebrities like Johnny Carson and Sammy Davis, Jr. He constructed a 660k-square-foot manufacturing plant in Northern Ireland and, by 1981, was rolling cars off the line.

The DeLorean was initially met with great hype — but its then-pricey $25k price tag, coupled with a myriad of mechanical issues, resulted in less-than-stellar sales.

When the company ran dangerously short of funding and his investors refused to cough up more cash, DeLorean turned to drastic measures.

In 1982, a man DeLorean knew casually approached him about getting involved in a $24m cocaine deal; determined to keep his company afloat, he took the bait. That man turned out to be an FBI informant, and the supposed cocaine deal turned out to be a set-up. DeLorean’s lawyers argued that the government had entrapped him and, after a trial that played out on evening news broadcasts and in the tabloids, he was acquitted. 

But by then, the damage was done: The DeLorean Motor Company went bankrupt, and its disgraced founder withdrew from the spotlight.

Then, along came Stephen Wynne

 

Growing up in Liverpool, England, Stephen Wynne was obsessed with the cars he saw in American magazines. With the DeLorean, it was love at first sight.

“It was a drop-dead design,” he says. “And it was at a time when the automotive industry was very boring and this was a game-changer.” 

Stephen Wynne (photo: Fascinating Nouns / Daniel J. Glenn)

Wynne emigrated to the United States, where he opened a repair shop in Southern California specializing in British and French cars. In the early 1980s, customers started showing up with DeLoreans, which had been rushed to market and were saddled with a bunch of nagging issues. Those iconic doors, for instance, sometimes failed to open, trapping occupants inside. 

In due time, Wynne became the go-to DeLorean mechanic country-wide.

After the auto company went belly-up, he bought a warehouse filled with leftover DeLorean parts and had the ridiculously massive haul shipped from Ohio, to Texas, an almost military-level logistical operation that required more than 80 semis.

In the wake of the DeLorean Motor Company’s bankruptcy, Wynne also acquired the rights to the firm’s name and intellectual property, made himself the CEO, and decided to resurrect the beloved but beleaguered car.

Over the years, Wynne has watched as the reputation of the DeLorean has cycled through ups and downs.

”The first decade was dealing with the shame of a bankruptcy and drug dealing,” he says. “The second decade was dealing with people thinking that it was a movie prop, that it was just a time machine. Now that we’ve got over that and the values are coming up, people are treating it like a real car.”

Wynne built his headquarters in Humble, Texas, just outside of Houston.

When you drive by, you might see a parking lot filled with DeLoreans. At any one time, he has 40 or so DeLoreans on the premises, and most days some dazzled passer-by will wander into the shop and start asking questions (“I unfortunately don’t have a tour guide on staff,” he says).

Inside you’ll find floor-to-ceiling shelving units filled with the 2,650 parts needed to construct a DeLorean from scratch; Wynne estimates he still has somewhere around 4m original parts in stock, from filters and flanges to engines and steering wheels. He also has DeLorean’s blueprints, so they can manufacture whatever parts they need. 

It’s more like a mini-factory than a fix-it shop. 

DeLorean cars fill the shop floor in Humble, Texas, and thousands of parts line the shelves (photos: DMC Facebook page)

While Wynne’s business is servicing the older cars, what he really wants is to crank out an upgraded model and take the DeLorean to the next level.

He’s not going to replace the doors or the exterior with something more practical. Nor is he going to tweak the car’s iconic silhouette. After getting to know pretty much every serious DeLorean aficionado (including Ernest Cline, the author of Ready Player One), Wynne knows what makes the car beloved.

What he does want to do is improve on all the ways the original fell short.

When the DeLorean first rolled off the assembly line, its engine was pitifully underpowered. It looked like a rocketship but puttered like a sedan, which didn’t exactly help sales. An otherwise positive review from Car and Driver pointed to manufacturing defects, complaining that “switches popped loose” and “windows fell out of their tracks.” 

Wynne plans to more than double the horsepower. He’ll also jazz up the spartan interior and iron out all the other kinks that DeLorean and his engineers never got around to.

“After working on the car for nearly 38 years, we know what needs to be done,” he says. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to make a car they never got to make.” 

Right now, though, that opportunity is in limbo

 

There are plenty of customers who want nothing more than to drive a new DeLorean off the lot. Several thousand of them, in fact. 

They tend to be more geeks than gear-heads — guys who wanted to buy a DeLorean when they first came out, but couldn’t afford the $25k price tag. Other would-be buyers were born long after the company’s collapse but still dig that futuristic throwback vibe. The waiting list has grown beyond what Wynne will ever be likely to fulfill. 

A row of DeLoreans sit outside the DeLorean Motor Company in 2013 (photo: Paul Bersebach/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

But the glacial pace of the federal bureaucracy has tempered Wynne’s ability to act on this demand.

In December 2015, President Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST), which, among other things, allows small manufacturers like DeLorean to produce a limited number of cars each year. Under the act, DeLoreans would be classified as “replicas” and wouldn’t have to meet the full list of modern safety regulations governing new cars.

Here’s the snag: Before the cars can be built or delivered, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has to tell Wynne and other manufacturers precisely what they can and can’t do. Those guidelines were due way back in 2016. Somehow it still hasn’t happened, and Wynne is understandably frustrated.

“We’ve been on hold and we keep saying ‘It’s coming, it’s coming,’” he says. “We’re starting to lose the faith of a lot of potential vendors and partners. They’re starting to think that we’re full of crap.”

Recently, there has been some movement in the right direction. A lawsuit helped prompt the NHTSA to issue a set of draft regulations, which must be discussed and revised. If all goes well, it could be a matter of months before the new DeLoreans get the greenlight.

Wynne’s trying not to get his hopes up.

“I spent over $1m four years ago and then had to put everything on hold. It cost me a lot of capital in goodwill as well as money and I’m just gun-shy,” he says. “I don’t want to get too excited.”

The call of the DeLorean

 

What is it about this particular car that captures Wynne’s imagination?

“It goes back to the original concept, which was an ethical sports car. And that part of it they got absolutely right,” he says. “They wanted the cars to last beyond the traditional 5- to 10-year cycle. That’s what’s behind the stainless-steel body. It has absolutely stood the test of time.”

The saga of the car has always been tightly bound up with the rise and fall of its creator. For years, DeLorean, who died in 2005, didn’t have much to do with the community of fans that grew up around his car. Perhaps it was a reminder of all that had gone wrong in his personal and professional life.

Stockpiled DeLorean cars at the DeLorean motor plant in Belfast in the early 1980s (photo: PA Images via Getty Images)

But with the encouragement of his daughter, DeLorean started showing up at meetings of DeLorean enthusiasts, shaking hands, taking photos, autographing the car he created. 

“At the conventions, he was an absolute hero. He was totally mobbed. He was a god,” says Wynne, who met DeLorean several times. “I think it was nice for him to have seen and experienced that.”

Two recent biopics (“Driven” and “Framing John DeLorean”) grappled with DeLorean’s legacy, shedding light on the fine line between visionary and egomaniac.

Like plenty of worldbeaters today with a clever app and an elevator pitch, DeLorean was determined to disrupt a slow-moving industry. He mocked the naysayers and traded on his considerable charm. He married a supermodel, Cristina Ferrare, and posed shirtless for magazines. He also burned through ~$175m at a jaw-dropping clip. 

Wynne’s own view of the man is complicated. The story of DeLorean, as it’s usually told, is of an entrepreneur so determined to realize his dream that he fell in with an unsavory crowd. Another version is of a guy whose recklessness helped torpedo a company that might otherwise have thrived.

“I am a huge fan of the DeLorean brand. I’m a huge fan of the DeLorean company,” he says. “But I am not a huge fan of John DeLorean.”

That may be why Wynne hasn’t bothered to watch the two new movies about DeLorean. He was invited to one of the premieres but didn’t go. He’s not interested in reliving the drug trial or plumbing the depths of John DeLorean’s troubled soul.

“For me,” Wynne says, “it’s always been about the car.”

The post One man’s quest to bring the DeLorean back to life appeared first on The Hustle.

14 Feb 17:44

This week’s weirdest ways to spend money

by Conor Grant

Ok, so you didn’t knock it out of the park with your Valentine’s Day gift. It happens. But it could always be worse… or, at least, weirder.

Take a moment to enjoy some of the strangest Valentine’s gifts we stumbled across this week:

  • Selfie toaster, $85. If your partner is the kind of person who likes to look at their own face on a piece of toast, then this product is a must-buy.
  • Underwear featuring your face, $19.95 – $29.95. Available for him or for her, these customized undies keep you close to your partner all day long. 
  • 50 Shades of Chicken, $12.79. Some people love romance novels. Other people love chicken. This cookbook is for the latter.
  • A customized bobblehead, $59.95. If your partner has been begging to see a tiny version of you bobbing at them all day… then look no further than this tiny clay figurine.
  • Jerky Heart, $34.99. What’s more romantic than slabs of seasoned beef arranged in the shape of a heart? Nothing, that’s what.

The post This week’s weirdest ways to spend money appeared first on The Hustle.

14 Feb 16:26

5 Ways to Use Google Flights to Plan Your Trip and Save Money

by Sandy Writtenhouse
google-flights-save

If you’re planning a trip for business or pleasure, you likely have a budget. And with the prices of airfare alone, it can cost a bundle just to fly one state over. If you can save a few bucks on your next getaway, wouldn’t you do it?

Google Flights is one way to make affordable travel plans. You can find flights and hotels at reasonable prices. Plus, the site offers price alerts, ways to discover new locations, lists of activates in your destination, and much more.

Here are some helpful ways to plan your trip and save some cash with Google Flights.

1. Look at Google Flights Packages

If there’s one thing that can help make planning a trip that much easier, it’s a travel package. These handy combo deals give you one price that includes airfare and hotel accommodations. So not only can you get a decent discount on both but plan them together without searching for them separately.

The Google Flights Packages section shows the top destinations from your location. Alternatively, if you have a certain spot in mind, you can pop the destination, travel dates, and the number of people who will travel with you at the top.

Pick Your Hotel

Once you receive your package results, you’ll get details on hotels first. You can browse through the list that displays the star rating and a brief description or refer to the map for accommodations based on price and location. You’ll see costs for the entire package, per person, and in total.

Google Flights Packages Hotels

Click to select an option and you’ll be directed to more package information on Google.com. This is where you can see full details for the hotel and find the right flight.

Find the Right Flight

You might see a Cheaper Dates area which is ideal if you have flexible travel dates. And you can use the Compare Rates section to find affordable airfare and convenient flight times for your budget and schedule.

Google Flights Packages Flights

Once you choose your departing and returning flights, you’ll select your hotel room preferences, and continue to book your package.

2. Browse Inexpensive Hotel Options

Maybe you don’t need a package deal for your trip. You might already have transportation and just need a reasonably priced hotel.

Click the Hotels button on the left of the Google Flights page and you’re on your way to affordable accommodations.

You’ll see popular destinations with some great hotel rates. But if you have a particular city in mind, enter it at the top with your travel dates and number of guests.

When you land on the results page, you can adjust filters at the top for guest ratings, amenities, and brands. You’ll also see that handy map again on the right side with hotels plotted by price.

Google Flights Find Hotels

Select a hotel for full details including available rooms and rates along with booking sites and their prices.

These Google Flights hotel searching features make finding accommodations within your budget a breeze.

3. Scout for Affordable Airfare

If what you need for your next trip isn’t the accommodations and only the airfare, then Google Flights is an excellent resource.

Click Flights on the left and enter your departing and returning airports with your travel dates. You can also include the number of passengers and the requested class if you like.

You’ll see results for your departing flights first with prices, stops, and travel times. You’ll also see a nifty section that shows you if prices are low for your trip and you can click View price history for details on the rate changes.

Google Flights Low Prices Your Trip

This gives you a nice way to see if it’s a good time to buy those airline tickets or if you should wait. Plus, you can enable the toggle toward the top for Track prices. This will set up Google Flight alerts so when the rates change, up or down, you’ll get an email.

If you decide to book your flight, click to pick the departing and then the returning flight. You can easily continue through to booking. But if you simply want to keep track of price changes for the exact flights you pick, use the Google Flight price tracker we just mentioned.

By enabling Track prices for flights you’ve already chosen, you can keep an eye on airfare changes via email without having to check yourself.

Google Flights Selected Flights Track Prices

4. Check Out Google Flights Explore

If we still haven’t hit the nail on the head for what you need for your next trip, Google Flights can still help. Maybe what you have is the budget, but just aren’t sure where to spend it. The Google Flights Explore area of the website is the perfect place to find a fun destination.

Click the Explore button on the left side and discover a new spot. You’ll see some suggestions like New York, Walt Disney World Resort, and the Florida Keys. You can check out one of these options or pop some possible thoughts into the search box.

Click Travel Guide at the top and find out the types of activities there are, scan hotel and airfare rates, and see the best months to visit.

Say you’ve been thinking of a trip to Chicago but aren’t sure if there’s enough for your family to enjoy or if you can even afford it. Enter “Chicago” into the search box and you’ll get all of these details and more.

You’ll see photos, things to do, suggested day plans, prices for packages, flights, and hotels, when to visit, travel videos, and nearby places to explore.

Google Flights Explore - Chicago

The Google Flights Explore section helps you find the ideal location for your trip as well as one that you can afford.

5. View Potential Trips on Google Flights

One more helpful spot on the Google Flights site is Trips. This area is convenient for pulling in travel confirmation emails you receive to your Gmail account. But you can also use this section for planning.

Based on your activity on Google Flights, you’ll see Potential Trips with an option to continue planning any one of them. If you click that Continue Planning link, you’ll get a nice summary of the options you viewed or picked for that trip.

Google Flights Potential Trips

So if you’re deciding between two different locations, with a simple click of each one, you can find out if the airfare has gone up or down. Then, view those flight options once more and continue exploring things to do while you’re there.

Let Google Flights Help Plan Your Trip

Hopefully, these Google Flights tips for planning your trip and saving money doing it will come in handy. And remember, Google also has real-time flight data to help you keep track of your own flights or those for people visiting you.

Read the full article: 5 Ways to Use Google Flights to Plan Your Trip and Save Money

14 Feb 16:25

Modem vs. Router: What’s the Difference?

by Megan Ellis
router-modem

While we sometimes use modem and router interchangeably when talking about our home internet hardware, these two devices are not the same thing. In fact, their roles are very different.

So what is a modem? What’s a router? And what is the difference between a modem and a router? Here’s what you need to know about these two devices.

What Is a Modem?

modem connection illustration

A modem converts the incoming and outgoing signals between an ISP and a user’s home or workplace. The modem’s job involves converting these signals to compatible formats, which enables the transmission of data required to connect to the internet.

An ISP sends data using a variety of signals (radio, electric, satellite, fiber-optic, etc), while computers and electronic devices use digital signals. This means that the modem is needed to essentially translate and convert the signals. This allows these two endpoints to communicate.

The conversion process involves the modulation and demodulation of signals—hence the name of the device: a portmanteau of the term “modulator-demodulator”.

Depending on your internet connection type, the type of modem you need varies. For example, for cable internet, you need a cable modem. Meanwhile, LTE internet requires an LTE modem and DSL internet requires a DSL modem.

Regardless of the type of modem, however, the core purpose remains the same.

Without a modem, your computer or phone would not be able to send and receive the data needed to connect to your internet service. The hardware establishes and maintains your internet connection.

However, a standalone modem can only connect one device to the internet at a time. That’s where a router comes in…

What Is a Router?

home network connected by router illustration

A router creates a local network of devices, allowing these devices to send data to your modem and each other. A router technically wouldn’t be required if you wanted to only connect one device to the internet. However, the majority of modern homes have multiple devices that use the internet, such as smartphones, tablets, and multiple PCs.

For these devices to seamlessly transmit data in your local network, you need a router. It routes data and traffic between devices (hence its name).

Your router does this by assigning local IP addresses to each device, so that the data ends up in the right place. Otherwise, the same data would go to every device on the network.

Modern routers include a built-in switch and hub, providing the ports needed for each of your devices to have an uninterrupted connection to the web. Hubs and switches are also available as standalone devices—but this is usually for the workplace where many more users or devices need to connect to the network.

Routers can technically also function without the internet if you only want to share files between your local devices. This means you can use a router without a modem to share files from your PC to your printer, or to send files between two computers on the same local network. However, your router needs to connect to your modem to provide internet access.

You can find out more about routers in our guide on routers and what they do.

Modem Vs Router: What’s The Difference?

network with modem and router example

The essential difference between a modem and router is their role when it comes to connecting you to the internet. While the modem is the bridge between your home and the internet, the router is responsible for creating your local network within the home.

You could imagine the router as a traffic guard. It helps vehicles (your devices) gain access to the bridge (modem) that leads to the internet. The router makes sure that every device stays in its lane and doesn’t interrupt the connection of other devices or intercept their data.

Another difference between a modem and router is that a modem has a single, public IP address. However, a router assigns a variety of local IP addresses for communication within the network.

Then, there’s there the necessity that each device plays when it comes to connecting to the internet. No matter what, a modem is necessary to connect to the internet. That’s why small modems are built into devices like smartphones, to translate the internet connection provided by your mobile service provider.

Without a router, a modem can still connect to the internet. The same is not true the other way around. Furthermore, a modem is used solely for connecting to the internet, whereas a router can technically be used without the internet to create a home network between devices.

Modem/Router Combinations

modem-router combined device
Image Credit: Misha Feshchak/Unsplash

The line between modems and routers has become so blurred in the minds of consumers for a reason. After all, many manufacturers sell modem/router combination devices. These come with both a modem and a router built into a single piece of hardware.

As technology advances, these combined devices have become increasingly common. Many modern households use a combined modem and router. Meanwhile, small mobile or portable modems also combine both technologies into one device.

However, it’s important to understand the distinction between modems and routers since they are still often sold as standalone devices. You don’t want to buy one when you actually need the other. Furthermore, it can be cheaper to buy them as standalone devices when it comes to upgrading specific aspects of your home internet network or replacing old modems and routers.

What About 5G Routers and Modems?

With the hype around 5G, more people are wondering whether they’ll need special modems and routers to connect to this internet technology.

Like with any other type of internet connection, you will need a compatible modem to connect to 5G internet. 5G-enabled smartphones and tablets have these modems built into them. But those who want to use a 5G connection for their home will need a 5G modem. These are already available, along with 5G modem-router combinations, from 5G ISPs and certain retailers.

Some companies also offer 5G CPEs (customer-premises equipment) with a built-in modem and router to connect customers to 5G networks.

Older routers should still work with 5G modems. But you may want to upgrade your router to take advantage of the full speed of 5G. Slower single-band routers may create a bottleneck for a fast 5G internet connection.

However, this will largely depend on your internet plan and how fast your 5G connection actually is. Don’t go upgrading your devices just yet until you know that 5G is available in your area, the details of your plan, and which devices are compatible.

Understanding Your Internet Wi-Fi

Now that you understand the roles of modems and routers better, you may still be wondering about other aspects of your home internet network. For example, where does Wi-Fi come in?

To find out more about Wi-Fi standards, and how they play a role in your connection to the internet, read our guide on understanding Wi-Fi.

Read the full article: Modem vs. Router: What’s the Difference?

13 Feb 13:01

Cost-cutting And Talent Recruitment, Not Climate Change, Are Why Nokia And HP Inc Are Eying Coworking In 2020

by Neil Edwards, Contributor
The move to coworking, the sharing of office space by self-employed workers or different companies in order to trade ideas, boost creativity and improve on the traditional 9-to-5 routine, is on the rise across all sectors of business — especially with global companies like HP Inc and Nokia.
13 Feb 12:48

Why Every Person Needs At Least Four Email Accounts

by Morey Haber, CommunityVoice
It helps separate the different use cases that you might perform for correspondence and sensitive authentication on the web.
13 Feb 00:00

Compass & Thermometer Carabiner

Maximum utility, minimal hassle. That's the promise of this Compass Carabiner. As the name suggests, it has an integrated liquid-filled mini compass to keep you on the right path. On...

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12 Feb 23:51

1975 Porsche 911 Coupe

Porsche debuted the first 911 Turbo in 1975, and since then, the three words *212; "Porsche", "911", and "Turbo" — have become inseparable. This 1975 Porsche 911 is not one...

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12 Feb 23:51

2021 Aston Martin Vantage Roadster

Aston Martin's Vantage lineup has lost something for 2021 — the top. The twin-turbo, 503 horsepower grand tourer is now roofless, with all the dynamics of the fixed-roof version and...

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12 Feb 23:50

Richard Neutra's Taylor House

Originally built in 1961, Richard Neutra's Taylor House is a master class in creating a connection with nature. The 1,477 square foot dwelling is situated on a half-acre in California's...

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12 Feb 23:46

Exploring Colorado’s Ghost Towns by Motorcycle

by Miranda Smith
Featured meta brevity banner.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Earlier this fall our buddies at META and Danner reached out to us about their upcoming trip exploring the ghost towns of Colorado by motorcycle. And while we couldn’t join for this particular adventure, we made sure to hook the guys up with our favorite adventure-ready jacket, the Flint and Tinder Waxed Trucker, for their ride through the Colorado desert. Now they’re back and ready to tell the tales of these forgotten towns. Enjoy this journal takeover by META and Danner.


 

Deep in the heart of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, we ventured to a place where spirits hover in the ether, and the relentless passage of time becomes apparent in the death, decay and life all around us. Colorado is estimated to have had more than 1,500 ghost towns, of which only 640 currently remain. The idea was to spend a few days exploring and appreciating these forgotten relics of the past, but what we found when we arrived was something much more transcendental.

A few hundred miles from Denver, the pavement ended and the hands of time wound back as we navigated the loose rocks and challenging terrain of Colorado’s Alpine Loop. Thunderstorms loomed at our backs, and our motorcycles dotted the high-elevation landscape like obscure pixels on a digital canvas. As we crested the final switchback of Cinnamon Pass and began our descent into the valley below, we could finally see our destination, the small ghost town of Animas Forks.

This rugged patch of Earth is so harsh and remote, we sat there in awe questioning how it was possible for those original settlers to arrive here and build a thriving mining community. At 11,200 feet, the town rests on the edge of treeline, exposed to high winds, avalanches and brutal low temperatures. It’s no place for those of a delicate nature.
 

META


META


META

Against a backdrop of flowering meadows, the timeworn wooden buildings stand in stark contrast to the surrounding summer blooms – a clear depiction of the struggle between man’s creations and the unforgiving alliance between Mother Nature and Father Time. Off-grid and cut off from modern-day conveniences, there was an awareness between all of us of how vulnerable life was in such a remote and brutal location.

We explored the area with a sense of respect and appreciation for what it took to live off this land. We could still feel the strife under our feet as we examined the precarious timber framework of the town’s mill. There was a sense of brevity among us as we inspected the last remaining artifacts from a time where only the hardened prospered.

META


META


META
 

This town was built upon the backs of prospectors, mine workers, and gritty townspeople who didn’t care that future generations would be so enamored by the structures’ skeletal remains over a century and a half later. The first cabin was built in 1873, and by 1876 the town contained 30 homes, a hotel, a general store, a saloon and a post office. At its peak in 1883, Animas Forks was bustling with life, with more than 450 residents. But when mining profits began to decline in the early 1900s, the mines began to close. Mill towns were abandoned when the mining towns they serviced closed. Coal towns were abandoned when the coal (or the need for it) ran out. Stagecoach stops were abandoned when the railroad came through, and rail stops were deserted when the railroad changed routes or abandoned the spurs. By 1920, Animas Forks was a ghost town. Here one moment and gone the next. A memory that will eventually be forgotten, swept away by the sands of time. Like all things.

If there is one thing we can learn from history, it’s that change is the only constant, and everything is temporary. Death breeds life. It’s all nature. It’s all a cycle. And it’s all guided by the unstoppable force of time. Witnessing the decay of these structures opened our minds to these ideas, and that realization became the theme of our trip, and this issue.

Dusk began to make an appearance, and it was time to continue on. Recent mudslides and remnants of an an avalanche kept us from our planned route out, forcing us to take a longer, more difficult path. It was like a rite of passage, as if the ghosts of Animas Forks were testing our mettle.

META


META


META

As darkness crept in, our broken bikes and exhausted bodies eventually made it back to modern-day civilization. We shared a meal and reflected on the realization that we are all a very small part of something much bigger. That our existence is temporary, and it’s up to us to carry a sense of appreciation throughout our daily lives for the time we have here. We are the sum of our experiences, and we should be grateful that life takes us where it does, however brief that may be.

Eventually the Earth will reclaim what remains of these old mining towns. Time devours everything. Be it in the form of flesh or steel, everything inevitably returns to its carbon beginnings. Birth. Life. Death. Decay. Rebirth. We all come from the same matter, and we are all a part of nature’s beautiful, never-ending cycle.
 



>>Next: Crossing Wyoming by Motorcycle
 


 

12 Feb 23:42

5 Essential Apps and Sites for Car Owners to Save Money & Fix Issues

by Mihir Patkar
Car tools

After your phone, the second-most used device in your life outside the home is your car. These apps and websites will help you take care of it and save some money on repairs and unnecessary expenses.

These myriad tools cover a range of automobile-related issues.

There are calculators to figure out how much you should pay, loans you can get, and the car’s lifetime costs. A couple of apps help you track expenses and figure out true mileage, along with getting you the cheapest gas prices. And there are a few experts at hand to help you fix basic issues without needing to go to a mechanic.

1. Drivvo (Android, iOS): Track Expenses, Mileage, Service Reminders, and More

Drivvo is one of the best all-in-one car management apps you’ll come across, and it’s free. With it, you can track expenses, calculate mileage, get average gas station prices, and even set reminders for car services.

The whole app is manual, so you will need to enter the details yourself. But it’s easy to do that while you’re waiting for the tank to fill up. It’s a basic set of inputs, like why type of fuel you’re using, what the odometer says, the price, and the gas station you’re currently at (which can be put with GPS).

Drivvo will track every input for income, service, route, expense, and refueling, creating a dashboard that shows all your car’s vital statistics. It even turns them into charts for reports. And you can set reminders for expenses or services, along with notes.

The Pro version has a few advanced features like adding unlimited incomes, exporting the data to spreadsheets, and so on. But most people don’t need them, and you’ll be happy with the basic Drivvo app for your personal use.

Download: Drivvo for Android | iOS (Free)

2. GasBuddy (Web, Android, iOS): Find Cheapest Gas Stations Nearby

GasBuddy finds the cheapest gas stations around you

Gas prices vary at each station. Why pay more for fuel when you can quickly check GasBuddy to find the cheapest pump nearby? Just download the app, grant it access to track your current location, and you’ll see stations on a map or a list.

By default, it lists stations based on the price of regular gas, but you can change that to mid-range, premier, diesel, or unleaded. You can also filter stations by amenities you are interested in, such as restrooms, pay-at-pump, air pumps, ATM machines, and convenience stores. And you can see what other people have said about the station.

GasBuddy has a few other built-in tools. For example, it keeps track of your refuels to tell you how efficient your mileage is. And the website has data-based tools, like Fuel Insights to see rise or fall in retail fuel prices. It’s one of the best thrifty apps to save money on car expenses.

Of course, GasBuddy is only for the USA, but there are similar apps for other countries. For example, you can check Gaspy for Australia and New Zealand, or INSADCO’s Cheap Refuel for major European countries.

Download: GasBuddy for Android | iOS (Free)

3. Car Calculators (Web): Find Affordability, Loan, Depreciation

Omni Calculator has several calculators for car owners, like the car affordability calculaor

Which car should you purchase based on your financial ability? Should you consider a car that retains its value well so you can resell it later? Omni Calculator has a series of calculators that answer common problems about cars and automobiles.

  • Car Affordability Calculator: Find out the maximum price you should pay for a car (used or new) based on your current financial situation.
  • Car Depreciation Calculator: A car’s value drops the more it is used. This calculator lets you estimate how much your car is worth, or even if the price for a used car is fair or not.
  • Auto Loan Calculator: Find out the best car loan deal for you, and how much you can borrow and repay with monthly payments and taxes.
  • Car Center of Mass Calculator: Find the center of gravity of any car, for better steering and balance.
  • Horsepower Calculator: Answer the age-old question, what is your car’s horsepower?
  • Lease Mileage Calculator: Calculate how many miles you have left on your lease, avoid penalty fees or predict the total fee.

4. ChrisFix (YouTube): DIY Repairs, Car Hacks, and Other Great Videos

Save money on car repairs and DIY mechanical fixes by learning from ChrisFix on YouTube

ChrisFix is among the biggest names on YouTube for car videos. The channel shot to fame for simplifying car repairs so that you can do the basics yourself, saving some money on mechanics. And now it’s grown to talk about anything to do with car repair and maintenance.

The channel hosts videos for brakes, engines, fluid changes, maintenance, and anything related to cars. Some of the popular hacks include how to use toothpaste to restore your headlights, and how to start a car that has been sitting idle for years. It focuses on practical knowledge that can save you time, money, or energy.

The main reason ChrisFix is so popular is the quality of the videos. There are several car experts on YouTube, but ChrisFix takes the time to set up the camera and lighting properly and edit the videos for clarity. It’s as accessible for a layman as it is a gearhead.

5. Automotive Forums (Web): Ask Any Question You Have

Automotive Forums is among the oldest and best discussion boards for car problems

Automotive Forums is among the oldest discussion boards for car enthusiasts on the internet. Started in 2000, it is still going strong thanks to a community of people who have oil in their veins, not blood.

The most important feature of this forum is the search function. Over the years, people have asked so many of the most common questions and got great answers, that you probably don’t need to ask it again. Instead, just search the archives. But of course, if your question hasn’t already been asked, make a new topic and you’ll get help soon.

Every major vehicle manufacturer has its own sub-forum, so you can dive into it and find your car’s model to see all topics related to it. There are also general topics like car audio, automotive art, fabrication, and tools, etc.

Avoid Mechanics and Rip-Offs

As a car owner, you can expect a number of expenses over the course of its life. Mechanics are businessmen, and any work can cost quite a bit. The best thing you can do for yourself is to learn how to fix the basics.

The first step is to understand the building blocks of a car and learn the nature of the problem. There are simple tools and apps to do that. Here are a few of our favorite ways to save money on car repairs and avoid mechanic rip-offs.

Read the full article: 5 Essential Apps and Sites for Car Owners to Save Money & Fix Issues

12 Feb 23:42

Mashvisor Helps You Find the Best Investment Properties in Minutes

by MakeUseOf Deals

As interest rates continue to sink, real estate investing has become a great alternative to traditional savings. Buying a second home means you can make passive income from rentals and Airbnb, while retaining the value of that property. With Mashvisor, you can find the best opportunities in minutes. Right now, you can get lifetime access to this powerful platform for just $39 via MakeUseOf Deals.

Smart Real Estate Research

Finding a good property for investment normally requires months of research. But with Mashvisor, the process takes just 15 minutes. You simply input your budget and choose an area to search; the platform does the rest, leveraging public data to find the best buys.

To rank properties by potential, Mashvisor looks at local rental rates. The site also analyzes Airbnb prices and occupancy rates, using this data to make forward projections.

On the Basic plan, you can search as much as you like and create interactive reports. Upgrading to the Professional plan unlocks advanced search filters, property design analysis, and traditional data heat maps.

Lifetime Access for $39

Worth $1,499, lifetime service on the Basic plan is now just $39. You can upgrade to the Professional plan for $99, saving over $4,600 on the standard price.

Read the full article: Mashvisor Helps You Find the Best Investment Properties in Minutes

12 Feb 23:29

Titanium forceps

by mark

Hemostatic forceps are a non-obvious but remarkably versatile tool. They have long been a standard in my toolkits, from garage tool chest and electronics kit to my EMT medical bag. Forceps offer greater precision than needle nose pliers, and small forceps are vastly more effective than tweezers at grasping small slippery objects like tiny wires, metal slivers or thorns stuck in one’s skin. I have found them a godsend on more than one occasion when attempting to remove bits of tick mouthparts after an unsuccessful attempt to persuade a tick to let go of me or our dog.

The hitch is finding a forceps that is small and precise enough to do the job. The best are made of titanium (Ti) for medical use. Titanium matters because it lighter and more flexible than stainless and has a tensile strength equal to carbon steel. This means the teeth in the tip align perfectly without any gaps or worn edges even after long use. And because titanium is a particularly non-reactive metal (non-magnetic, anti-bacterial and corrosion-resistant) titanium forceps are suitable for everything from working on circuitry to extracting splinters. There are no shortage of sources on the web, but one has to be careful to avoid forceps that merely titanium coated or poorly-made units with simple anodizing.

My current favorite forceps ($49) are from Countycomm, a Silicon Valley-based seller of arcane tools and other gizmos that are often overruns from government supply contracts. They typically cost more than other sellers, but I have found their products to be consistently of the highest quality, and they often offer specialized items found nowhere else.

-- Paul Saffo

Titanium Forceps ( TAC-MED ) Electronic Technician ($49)

12 Feb 23:29

Flat Measuring Tape

by claudia

Tools (Recommended):
FASTCAP PS-FLAT16 ProCarpenter Flatback Tape Measure ($9)

Guest: Palo Coleman
Instagram

Quotes:
“Today, I brought another measuring device. This one has my initials written on it. This one is by Fastcap. They actually called it the Old Standby Flatback. Most measuring tapes in the old days were flat, either fiberglass or cloth embedded with metal. They don’t have the bend that you get in construction. Rulers are measuring tapes and they also don’t have the loose end point whenever you’re using measuring tape. You know, there’s about an eighth of an inch pull. When you get down to catch, if you’re pushing up with a tape measure, you need to add this.”

“This one is solid. So where the tape comes down to, let’s say two inches is exactly two inches and there’s no change. And because it doesn’t have the curve, it leaves perfectly flat on the board that you’re marking. That makes it that much accurate. Because if you’re using measuring tape, you notice it bows up on the side. It has to do with its flex and how it can hold together. But that makes it very inaccurate when you’re reaching over and trying to market, because that bow gives you kind of an optical illusion, whereas this works much more like a ruler. It’s exactly where it needs to be.”

“I would never use this in construction because it’s not as fast. I can’t just rip a line and go on to the next. And I don’t need the accuracy for framing, whereas when I’m doing cabinetry work. One sixty fourth is a huge problem if that keeps adding up over my measurements, and then my box is [crooked]. It really just depends on the work you’re doing.”

-- Palo Coleman

FASTCAP PS-FLAT16 ProCarpenter Flatback Tape Measure ($9)

Available from Amazon

12 Feb 22:42

Is There Really a Recall on the Colt Python?

by Will Brantley
After the release of a YouTube video where a 2020 Colt Python malfunctioned, people have made claims that Colt is recalling the firearm.
After the release of a YouTube video where a 2020 Colt Python malfunctioned, people have made claims that Colt is recalling the firearm. (Colt's Manufacturing Company LLC/)

A few days after the SHOT Show, a buddy asked what the best thing I saw was, and I answered with the Colt Python. I’ve been to 10 SHOT Shows now, and I’ve never seen more buzz around one gun. That it’s 2020, and the gun is a reintroduction of a heavy revolver first introduced in 1955, is no small thing. Nostalgia and Hollywood can create an appeal that practicality cannot match.

Although there are some differences in the new Python and the original (the biggest being the new transfer bar safety, in contrast to the old hammer block), the fascinating part of this story is not really the gun. It’s about a market that was created by the gun. That this revolver has become so desirable—and so often searched online—has in a way created a problem for the 2020 Python that didn’t exist for the original: It must now survive the Internet.

Case in point, when I mentioned the Python to my buddy—who is a revolver guy—he matter-of-factly said, “Yeah, but the new one is having problems, and Colt recalled them.” We also had a number of readers comment on our Python coverage from the SHOT Show, saying the same thing. So I did some digging around, to see what I could verify.

If you read nothing else, read this: The recall rumor is false (as I’m writing this). But at least a few Pythons have had some problems. Here’s what I found.

Understanding the Python Appeal

First, some background information on why this relaunch is such a big deal. A lot of the people buying handguns right now are in their late 30s to early 40s. Though we mostly carry autoloaders, many of us did learn how to shoot on revolvers. I know I did, and in fact, I grew up kicking around the woods with a wheel-gun almost constantly on my side. The look of a classic double-action just stirs good feelings, and if you’re talking classic double-actions, the Python’s reputation is near-mythical. But that reputation created only part of the demand.

On Halloween of 2010, The Walking Dead debuted and became one of the most-watched shows in television history. The protagonist, former lawman Rick Grimes, wields a 6-inch Python against bad guys, both living and undead. Gun blogs lit up about what a poor choice a magnum revolver would actually be in the zombie apocalypse, what with all the Glocks and such laying around, but it didn’t matter. The Python became the good guy’s tool in a world gone really bad.

I doubt pop culture has had a bigger impact on a particular gun since Dirty Harry hefted the Model 29. The difference is, Smith & Wesson was producing the Model 29 when the world met Dirty Harry, but the Python had been out of production for years when we met Rick Grimes.

Prices for used Pythons—which were already expensive—soared, routinely topping $3,000 online.

Colt had already been teasing the revolver market with the reintroduction of the Cobra and King Cobra. Their timing to bring back the Python simply couldn’t have been better. Like many in the media, I saw the new one for the first time at the 2020 SHOT Show’s Range Day. I fired several cylinders of .38 SPL through it, just enough to note that it’s pretty, it hit where I aimed, and that it had the smoothest double-action trigger I’ve ever tried.

But not everyone who tried the new gun had the same experience. I didn’t know the Internet was grumbling about it until we posted our Range Day coverage, and readers began chiming in about the supposed recall.

Due to TV appearances and Internet buzz, vintage Colt Python's were fetching upwards of $3000 online.
Due to TV appearances and Internet buzz, vintage Colt Python's were fetching upwards of $3000 online. (Colt's Manufacturing Company LLC /)

Old Gun, Meet New Media

Throughout the original Python’s production, YouTube did not exist. It does now, along with countless shooting and gun review channels. And if you’re in the firearm business, you’d best take them seriously. With 4.73 million subscribers, Hickok45’s channel is maybe the biggest one out there. And on January 12, a week before SHOT Show Range Day, he posted a video review during which he’s shooting a new Python, and the gun’s cylinder fails to turn numerous times, in both single- and double-action. At last check, the video had more than 500,000 views and 2,800 comments. Among them:

“Sam Colt is revolving in his grave right now.”

“When Hickok says he’s disappointed, Colt done messed up.”

Ouch.

Competing channels posted videos about the gun, too, some claiming similar problems, while others, seemingly more interested in discrediting Hickok45, claimed he either deliberately caused the malfunction or didn’t know how to operate a double-action revolver.

If you’re on the sidelines thinking of buying a Python, the mixed messages are enough to make you ask, “What the hell is going on?”

I spoke to Hickok45, who rarely gives media interviews and asked that I not use his real name. He insists there was no motive behind the video, but that the gun he used did have genuine problems. And, he knows how to shoot a revolver.

“I’ve probably put 200,000 rounds through double-action revolvers over the years, and have owned around 50 of them—including two or three Pythons,” he says.

“Usually, if we have problems with a gun right out of the box, we just don’t post the video,” he continues. “It happens, and we’re not out to bash anyone. But the video of the Python was going well until the very end, and that’s why we decided to show it. We posted a message about the malfunction at the beginning because we were afraid people would miss it (the video is more than 35 minutes long), being at the end. Several people thought I was trying to make the gun look bad, or faking it. But that wasn’t it. To me, it was very clear what was happening. The cylinder wasn’t turning, and it was doing it in both double and single action. I’m not sure you could fake something like that.”

He didn’t speculate on the recall rumors. “I think the problem was real, and I think there’ve been others who’ve had similar problems,” he says. “But the question is what percentage of (the new Pythons) is it happening with? Maybe it’s just one in a hundred, and there weren’t enough out there for Colt to make a big statement or announce a recall. My bet is they fix it, and everything will be fine in six months.”

Colt designed the new Python to be a strong gun, capable of shooting numerous full-magnum rounds over the course of its life.
Colt designed the new Python to be a strong gun, capable of shooting numerous full-magnum rounds over the course of its life. (Colt's Manufacturing Company LLC/)

Colt Speaks

Justin Baldini, Colt’s product director, says there has been no recall on the Python. The gun used in Hickok45’s review has been returned to Colt, and no one is denying that it malfunctioned. “The first thing we looked for was loose screws in the side plate,” Baldini says. “If the side plate on the new gun gets pushed outward a bit, that can cause the malfunction. But at this moment, we’re still not 100 percent on it. Hickok’s gun and one other are the only two that have come back for any functional issue.”

Baldini added that the new Python is designed to be shot. During development, it tested with 12,000 full-magnum .357 loads, without any stretching or twisting of the frame. “We went into it with the intention of building a beefier gun,” he says. “But if someone buys a Python and has trouble with it, let us know. We have a great service center, and we’ll get it squared away. It’s still a mechanical device, built by people.”

Truth is, when you’re reviewing equipment—and I’ve reviewed a lot of equipment—even the best of it can malfunction. As the old saying goes, $#@! happens. When it happens amidst a product launch that’s as high-profile as the new Python, and on a platform large as Hickok45’s … well, that’s enough to get gun people gossiping.

Still, despite hiccups, there’ve been 2,300 new Pythons built and shipped so far, and they’re now back-ordered to the tune of 14,000 guns, which is about a year’s worth of guns, according to Baldini. That’s not a bad start.

So knowing all this, what would I do, if I wanted a Python? I’d recognize that the new one is not only less expensive than the old one, but probably sturdier, too. I’d get my name on the waiting list, and when I got one, I’d shoot the hell out of it. If it messed up, I’d send it back for repair. That’s what I’d do for any gun not working just right.

Then, when I wasn’t shooting it, I’d keep it clean and locked up in the safe. And every now and then, I’d pull it out, look at it, and think, “By God, I’ve finally gotten myself a Colt Python.”

08 Feb 23:59

How to Transfer Contacts From iPhone to iPhone

by Dan Helyer
transfer-contacts-iphone

Whether you just upgraded to a new iPhone or got one from work, the first step you need to take is getting your contacts on it. It isn’t always obvious how to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone; it’s a bit confusing since there are several options available to you.

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You can transfer data to a new iPhone using Quick Start, restore everything from a backup, use iCloud to sync just your contacts, or share individual contacts over AirDrop.

We explain how to use each of these iPhone contact transfer methods below.

1. Transfer Contacts to a New iPhone Using Quick Start

If you just got a brand new iPhone, you can transfer contacts and all the other data from your old iPhone during the setup. Apple calls this Quick Start because it lets you start using your new device as soon as possible. In fact, you can even transfer contacts from an Android device during the setup as well.

Quick Start transfers everything from your old iPhone to the new one, including your contacts. If you only want to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone and nothing else, skip ahead to the iCloud section (#3) below.

If you have an iCloud backup, you can choose to transfer the most important data immediately and restore the rest over Wi-Fi in the background. This means you can start using your iPhone, with the contacts on it, after around 15 minutes.

Download data from iCloud option in Quick Start

Alternatively, you can choose to transfer everything from one iPhone to the other during the setup. This takes much longer, depending on how much data is on your original iPhone, but you don’t need to depend on a fast internet connection or a recent iCloud backup to do it.

Quick Start is only available while setting up a new iPhone. If you’ve already finished the setup, use the other methods discussed to transfer contacts instead.

Alternatively, restore your iPhone to factory settings by going to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. If you do this, you’ll lose everything already on your new iPhone, but will have the option to use Quick Start again.

To use Quick Start, turn on your new iPhone and move it next to your old one. A message should appear on the old iPhone asking to use your Apple ID to set up the new iPhone. Check to make sure it shows the right account and tap Continue.

Quick Start request to transfer data from old iPhone

When a swirling pattern appears on the new iPhone’s screen, use your old iPhone to scan it with the camera. Now enter your old iPhone passcode on the new iPhone and follow the onscreen prompts to finish the setup and transfer your contacts.

2. Restore a Backup to Your New iPhone

You can’t use Quick Start to transfer data if you already traded in, sold, or gave away your original iPhone. However, you can still transfer contacts and everything else to your new iPhone using an existing backup.

This only works if you made a backup of your original iPhone before getting rid of it. If you still have the iPhone, you can make a new backup now, but it’s easier to use the Quick Start method above. Again, if you only want to transfer contacts and nothing else, skip to the iCloud section below.

On your new iPhone, follow the onscreen setup prompts until you reach the Apps & Data page. From here, choose to Restore from iCloud Backup or Restore from Mac or PC, depending on where you made your original iPhone backup.

Apps & Data page from iPhone setup

For iCloud, sign in using the Apple ID details from your original iPhone and choose the latest backup to restore. It may take several hours to restore all the content and data from your backup, depending on your internet speed.

For a Mac or PC, connect your new iPhone to the computer you used to back up your original iPhone. Open iTunes or Finder and click Restore Backup from the iPhone summary page. Confirm which backup to restore and wait for all the data to transfer to your new iPhone.

3. Sync Contacts From iPhone to iPhone With iCloud

The simplest way to transfer contacts from one iPhone to another is to connect both devices to the same iCloud account. You can use iCloud to back up or sync all kinds of data from your Apple devices. When you choose to sync contacts, your iPhone uploads all its contact data to iCloud, then iCloud pushes it out to your other devices.

iCloud only gives you the option to sync your entire contact library. However, you don’t need to transfer any other data to your new iPhone like you do with the previous two methods. If you only want to transfer a selection of contacts, skip to the next section.

Make sure both iPhones are connected to Wi-Fi and signed in to the same Apple ID account. Go to Settings > [Your Name] to see your Apple ID username at the top of the screen. If you need to, scroll down and tap Sign Out, then sign in to the correct account.

iPhone Apple ID settings showing username email address

It’s fine if you don’t want to use the same Apple ID on both iPhones permanently. Just change them to the same account while transferring your contacts. When you sign out of iCloud later, you can choose to keep a copy of your contacts on the iPhone.

With both iPhones signed in to the same account, go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud and turn on Contacts. If given the option, choose to Merge your iPhone contacts with iCloud. It’s best to sync contacts from your original iPhone first, since it needs to upload them to iCloud before they transfer to your new iPhone.

iCloud Contacts option turned on in iPhone settings

Allow plenty of time for the contacts to upload and sync to your new iPhone.

4. Transfer Groups of Contacts Using Finder or iTunes

If you can’t use iCloud—either because you have no free storage or your internet connection is too slow—you can sync contacts using a computer instead. This way, you can also choose to transfer groups of contacts from iPhone to iPhone, rather than your entire address book.

Because you can’t create contact groups on an iPhone, you’ll need to open iCloud.com on your computer and access the Contacts app there to make new groups. Make sure you’ve set up the groups that you want to sync before proceeding.

To sync with an iPhone, your computer needs to have the latest version of iTunes installed, or macOS Catalina or later (which uses Finder instead of iTunes).

You also need to turn off the Contacts option in your iCloud settings on both devices. Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud to do so. If given the option, choose to keep contacts on your iPhone.

Open iTunes or Finder on your computer and connect your old iPhone using the charging cable that came with it. If prompted, agree to Trust the connection on both your iPhone and computer.

Trust iPhone option in Finder on Mac

In iTunes, click the iPhone icon in the top-left corner. In Finder, select your iPhone from the sidebar. Then go to the Info page.

Turn on the option to Sync contacts onto [Your Device] and choose the groups of contacts to transfer. Click Apply, then Sync and wait for the sync to finish.

iPhone syncing contacts in Finder on Mac

Now connect your new iPhone to the computer and repeat the steps above to transfer your contacts to it.

5. Transfer Individual Contacts From iPhone to iPhone

Sometimes you only want to transfer a single contact or a small selection of contacts to your new iPhone. If this is the case, you can share individual contacts using AirDrop, Messages, Mail, or other services.

Find the contact you want to share in the Phone or Contacts app on your iPhone. From the contact information page, scroll down and tap the option to Share Contact.

Share Contact option in iPhone Contact details

A Share Sheet appears with various methods to share the contact details. Tap your preferred method and send the contact to your new iPhone. You then need to Accept the transfer on your new iPhone and save the contact to your device.

Share Sheet for Contact form on iPhone

If you use AirDrop to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone, make sure the recipient is set to receive AirDrop requests from anyone. To do this, open Control Center on your new iPhone (scroll down from the top-right corner on iPhone X and newer, or swipe up from the bottom of the screen on iPhone 8 and older).

Then tap and hold on the top-left section with the airplane mode and Wi-Fi icons to reveal an AirDrop button. From there, you can choose who sees the device using AirDrop.

Erase Your Old iPhone Before Getting Rid of It

If you plan to get rid of your old iPhone—now that you’ve transferred all the contacts from it—make sure to erase all your content and data first. This is important to do as it protects your privacy, but also means the iPhone is ready for a new owner to set it up.

There are several ways to factory reset your iPhone. It usually only takes a few minutes and avoids activation and security problems down the line.

Read the full article: How to Transfer Contacts From iPhone to iPhone

08 Feb 23:58

Become a Photoshop Expert With 5 In-Depth Video Courses for $25

by MakeUseOf Deals

If you are serious about photography or you want to start a career in design, it’s pretty important to know Photoshop CC. This powerful app can be daunting at first, but anyone can pick up image editing skills with the right training. The Essential Adobe Photoshop CC Bundle helps you do just that, with five beginner-friendly courses and 14 hours of video instruction. Right now, you can get the bundle for just $25 at MakeUseOf Deals.

Become a Photoshop Expert

From processing RAW photos to designing logos, there are many things you can do with Photoshop CC. This bundle helps you explore the potential of the software, with tutorials starting from scratch.

The training begins with a tour of the app, before you get acquainted with all the major features. Through hands-on videos, you discover how to make image adjustments, retouch photos, and work with vector tools.

You also learn tips and tricks used by creative pros, helping you complete projects faster. This training is a great starting point for any aspiring creative, and you can claim a certificate of completion to add to your résumé.

Five Courses for $25

Order now for $25 to get lifetime access to all five courses, worth $199.

Prices subject to change

Read the full article: Become a Photoshop Expert With 5 In-Depth Video Courses for $25

08 Feb 23:57

5 Ways to Find Recycling Plant Locations in the US

by Dan Price
recycle-smartphone

As we continue to drain the planet’s finite natural resources, recycling as much as possible is more important than ever. Kitchen trash, old electronics, or discarded furniture… it doesn’t matter. Recycling is always a better solution than chucking it all in a landfill or incinerator.

But how do you know where to take all your old stuff? How can you find recycling locations close to your home or office? Keep reading to learn about how to discover nearby recycling drop off locations.

1. Earth911

earth911 recycling

Earth911 wants to save the planet with the help of its large community. Naturally, recycling forms a large part of that.

Earth911 makes it easy to find a recycling plant that caters to your specific needs and is close to you. The plants are subdivided according to the kind of trash they handle. You will find plants that deal that automotive parts, batteries, construction waste, electronics, garden waste, glass, hazardous materials, household trash, metals, paint, paper, and plastics.

You can even search for your specific type of waste if it does not fit into one of the headline categories.

In total, more than 350 different types of waste materials have been classified. The directory itself contains in excess of 100,000 recycling plants across the United States.

The site also offers a phone service. Just dial 1-800-CLEANUP and enter your ZIP code, and an automated voice will provide a list of the most suitable recycling centers near your location.

In addition to the Earth911 recycling search and location directory, the site also has an extensive blog about the topic. It is packed with useful tips on how to reduce your waste, how to recycle in the most appropriate way, and how to engage your community around the topics of recycling and reuse.

Other useful features on Earth911’s homepage include quizzes to help you brush up on your recycling and eco knowledge, a regular podcast, and industry news.

2. ENF Recycling

enf recycling list

The Earth911 website might be the most well-known (and arguably, the most comprehensive) resource for people who need to find recycling drop off locations near their home in the US, but it is not the only option. In the rest of the article, we’re going to introduce you to some of the top alternatives to Earth911. First up, ENF Recycling.

ENF Recycling is the world’s largest directory of recycling companies, recycling machines, and recycling services. It doesn’t have as many US listings as the Earth911 website; however, it has a global directory that Earth911 lacks.

Countries with recycling plants on ENF Recycling include Austria, Czech Republic, France, the UK, Germany, Spain, Russia, Switzerland, Italy, India, Japan, China, Singapore, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and many more.

The site’s recycling plants are divided into five main categories for easy navigation. They are Plastic, Metal, Glass, Paper, and Organic. Each category is further subdivided into the type of machine that each plant offers. You’ll see choices such as shredder, dry separator, hard plastics recycling, extruders, balers, and so on.

If you dig into each individual plant’s listing, you will find an address, emails, contact numbers, a map, and other useful snippets of information.

3. Vinyl Institute

vinyl institute recycle directory

Another site that provides a directory of recycling locations is Vinyl Institute. In theory, it covers all of North America, but the information is heavily skewed towards the United States. There are just a handful of listings for Canada.

The information for each listing is not as extensive as on Earth911 or ENF Recycling. You will not find any categories, and each company only has an address and phone number.

4. RecycleNation

recyclenation recycling map

RecycleNation is a recycling and green living-focused website. In addition to the listings, it also has a blog and an iPhone app.

The company has agreements with several large retailers, recycling location aggregators, and private entities, all of which combine to help make RecycleNation one of the most comprehensive ways to find recycling centers near your location.

It is easy to find the listings you need, thanks to the site’s search feature. Just enter the type of material that you want to recycle along with your ZIP code, and you will be shown a list of all the nearby locations that meet your criteria.

Some examples of recent blog posts on the site include “5 Ways to Recycle Old Board Games,” “5 Easy Tips for Sustainable Spring Cleaning,” and “2 Ways to Recycle Your Old Jeans.”

5. Local Recycling Listings

Many metropolitan areas have their own local resources available on the web. They are more likely to list smaller recycling drop off locations that might not have been picked up by the larger directories.

If you still need further information, you could approach your local authority directly. It will be able to tell you all the officially sanctioned recycling locations in the area.

Make sure a recycling location is sanctioned. Fake recycling scams are not uncommon as companies seek to strip the unwanted goods of any parts with a sell-on value.

And remember, all states have slightly different laws about how you should and should not recycle. Thankfully, the team at RecycleNation has put together a great list that links to each state’s official policies.

Learn More About Recycling

If you’re not already recycling, we’d urge you to strongly consider doing so. As these directories prove, it’s highly likely that you’ll have some facilities nearby, even if your local authority is not organizing specific recycling trash collection. If your condo or apartment complex does not recycle, you could try reaching out to the accommodation’s management team.

And remember, some of the most important items to recycle correctly are your old electronics.

They contain a lot of metals that are both expensive to extract from the earth and harmful for the environment—the truth about e-waste may surprise you. Check out our list of the best ways to recycle old electronics if you would like to learn more.

Read the full article: 5 Ways to Find Recycling Plant Locations in the US

08 Feb 23:56

How to Build a Basic Web Crawler to Pull Information From a Website

by Anthony Grant

Programs that read information from websites, or web crawlers, have all kinds of useful applications. You can scrape for stock information, sports scores, text from a Twitter account, or pull prices from shopping websites.

Writing these web crawling programs is easier than you might think. Python has a great library for writing scripts that extract information from websites. Let’s look at how to create a web crawler using Scrapy.

Installing Scrapy

Scrapy is a Python library that was created to scrape the web and build web crawlers. It is fast, simple, and can navigate through multiple web pages without much effort.

Scrapy is available through the Pip Installs Python (PIP) library, here’s a refresher on how to install PIP on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Using a Python Virtual Environment is preferred because it will allow you to install Scrapy in a virtual directory that leaves your system files alone. Scrapy’s documentation recommends doing this to get the best results.

Create a directory and initialize a virtual environment.

mkdir crawler
cd crawler
virtualenv venv
. venv/bin/activate

You can now install Scrapy into that directory using a PIP command.

pip install scrapy

A quick check to make sure Scrapy is installed properly

scrapy
# prints
Scrapy 1.4.0 - no active project

Usage:
  scrapy <command> [options] [args]

Available commands:
  bench         Run quick benchmark test
  fetch         Fetch a URL using the Scrapy downloader
  genspider     Generate new spider using pre-defined templates
  runspider     Run a self-contained spider (without creating a project)
...

How to Build a Web Crawler

Now that the environment is ready you can start building the web crawler. Let’s scrape some information from a Wikipedia page on batteries: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battery_(electricity).

The first step to write a crawler is defining a Python class that extends from Scrapy.Spider. This gives you access to all the functions and features in Scrapy. Let’s call this class spider1.

A spider class needs a few pieces of information:

  • a name for identifying the spider
  • a start_urls variable containing a list of URLs to crawl from  (the Wikipedia URL will be the example in this tutorial)
  • a parse() method which is used to process the webpage to extract information
import scrapy

class spider1(scrapy.Spider):
    name = 'Wikipedia'
    start_urls = ['https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battery_(electricity)']

    def parse(self, response):
        pass

A quick test to make sure everything is running properly.

scrapy runspider spider1.py
# prints
2017-11-23 09:09:21 [scrapy.utils.log] INFO: Scrapy 1.4.0 started (bot: scrapybot)
2017-11-23 09:09:21 [scrapy.utils.log] INFO: Overridden settings: {'SPIDER_LOADER_WARN_ONLY': True}
2017-11-23 09:09:21 [scrapy.middleware] INFO: Enabled extensions:
['scrapy.extensions.memusage.MemoryUsage',
 'scrapy.extensions.logstats.LogStats',
...

Turning Off Logging

Running Scrapy with this class prints log information that won’t help you right now. Let’s make it simple by removing this excess log information. Use a warning statement by adding code to the beginning of the file.

import logging
logging.getLogger('scrapy').setLevel(logging.WARNING)

Now when you run the script again, the log information will not print.

Using the Chrome Inspector

Everything on a web page is stored in HTML elements. The elements are arranged in the Document Object Model (DOM). Understanding the DOM is critical to getting the most out of your web crawler. A web crawler searches through all of the HTML elements on a page to find information, so knowing how they’re arranged is important.

Google Chrome has tools that help you find HTML elements faster. You can locate the HTML for any element you see on the web page using the inspector.

  • Navigate to a page in Chrome
  • Place the mouse on the element you would like to view
  • Right-click and select Inspect from the menu

These steps will open the developer console with the Elements tab selected. At the bottom of the console, you will see a tree of elements. This tree is how you will get information for your script.

Extracting the Title

Let’s get the script to do some work for us; A simple crawl to get the title text of the web page.

Start the script by adding some code to the parse() method that extracts the title.

...
    def parse(self, response):
        print response.css('h1#firstHeading::text').extract()
...

The response argument supports a method called CSS() that selects elements from the page using the location you provide.

In this example, the element is h1.firstHeading. Adding ::text to the script is what gives you the text content of the element. Finally, the extract() method returns the selected element.

Running this script in Scrapy prints the title in text form.

[u'Battery (electricity)']

Finding the Description

Now that we’ve scraped the title text let’s do more with the script. The crawler is going to find the first paragraph after the title and extract this information.

Here’s the element tree in the Chrome Developer Console:

div#mw-content-text>div>p

The right arrow (>) indicates a parent-child relationship between the elements.

This location will return all of the p elements matched, which includes the entire description. To get the first p element you can write this code:

response.css('div#mw-content-text>div>p')[0]

Just like the title, you add CSS extractor ::text to get the text content of the element.

response.css('div#mw-content-text>div>p')[0].css('::text')

The final expression uses extract() to return the list. You can use the Python join() function to join the list once all the crawling is complete.

    def parse(self, response):
        print ''.join(response.css('div#mw-content-text>div>p')[0].css('::text').extract())

The result is the first paragraph of the text!

An electric battery is a device consisting of one or more electrochemical cells with external connections provided to power electrical devices such as flashlights, smartphones, and electric cars.[1] When a battery is supplying electric power, its positive terminal is
...

Collecting JSON Data

Scrapy can extract information in text form, which is useful. Scrapy also lets you view the data JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). JSON is a neat way to organize information and is widely used in web development. JSON works pretty nicely with Python as well.

When you need to collect data as JSON, you can use the yield statement built into Scrapy.

Here’s a new version of the script using a yield statement. Instead of getting the first p element in text format, this will grab all of the p elements and organize it in JSON format.

...
    def parse(self, response):
        for e in response.css('div#mw-content-text>div>p'):
            yield { 'para' : ''.join(e.css('::text').extract()).strip() }
...

You can now run the spider by specifying an output JSON file:

scrapy runspider spider3.py -o joe.json

The script will now print all of the p elements.

[
{"para": "An electric battery is a device consisting of one or more electrochemical cells with external connections provided to power electrical devices such as flashlights, smartphones, and electric cars.[1] When a battery is supplying electric power, its positive terminal is the cathode and its negative terminal is the anode.[2] The terminal marked negative is the source of electrons that when connected to an external circuit will flow and deliver energy to an external device. When a battery is connected to an external circuit, electrolytes are able to move as ions within, allowing the chemical reactions to be completed at the separate terminals and so deliver energy to the external circuit. It is the movement of those ions within the battery which allows current to flow out of the battery to perform work.[3] Historically the term \"battery\" specifically referred to a device composed of multiple cells, however the usage has evolved additionally to include devices composed of a single cell.[4]"},
{"para": "Primary (single-use or \"disposable\") batteries are used once and discarded; the electrode materials are irreversibly changed during discharge. Common examples are the alkaline battery used for flashlights and a multitude of portable electronic devices. Secondary (rechargeable) batteries can be discharged and recharged multiple
...

Scraping Multiple Elements

So far the web crawler has scraped the title and one kind of an element from the page. Scrapy can also extract information from different types of elements in one script.

Let’s extract top IMDb Box Office hits for a weekend. This information is pulled from http://www.imdb.com/chart/boxoffice, in a table with rows for each metric.

The parse() method can extract more than one field from the row. Using the Chrome Developer Tools you can find the elements nested inside the table.

...
    def parse(self, response):
        for e in response.css('div#boxoffice>table>tbody>tr'):
            yield {
                'title': ''.join(e.css('td.titleColumn>a::text').extract()).strip(),
                'weekend': ''.join(e.css('td.ratingColumn')[0].css('::text').extract()).strip(),
                'gross': ''.join(e.css('td.ratingColumn')[1].css('span.secondaryInfo::text').extract()).strip(),
                'weeks': ''.join(e.css('td.weeksColumn::text').extract()).strip(),
                'image': e.css('td.posterColumn img::attr(src)').extract_first(),
            }
...

The image selector specifies that img is a descendant of td.posterColumn. To extract the right attribute, use the expression ::attr(src).

Running the spider returns JSON:

[
{"gross": "$93.8M", "weeks": "1", "weekend": "$93.8M", "image": "https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BYWVhZjZkYTItOGIwYS00NmRkLWJlYjctMWM0ZjFmMDU4ZjEzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTMxODk2OTU@._V1_UY67_CR0,0,45,67_AL_.jpg", "title": "Justice League"},
{"gross": "$27.5M", "weeks": "1", "weekend": "$27.5M", "image": "https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BYjFhOWY0OTgtNDkzMC00YWJkLTk1NGEtYWUxNjhmMmQ5ZjYyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjMxOTE0ODA@._V1_UX45_CR0,0,45,67_AL_.jpg", "title": "Wonder"},
{"gross": "$247.3M", "weeks": "3", "weekend": "$21.7M", "image": "https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMjMyNDkzMzI1OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODcxODg5MjI@._V1_UY67_CR0,0,45,67_AL_.jpg", "title": "Thor: Ragnarok"},
...
]

More Web Scrapers and Bots

Scrapy is a detailed library that can do just about any kind of web crawling that you ask it to. When it comes to finding information in HTML elements, combined with the support of Python, it’s hard to beat. Whether you’re building a web crawler or learning about the basics of web scraping the only limit is how much you’re willing to learn.

If you’re looking for more ways to build crawlers or bots you can try to build Twitter and Instagram bots using Python. Python can build some amazing things in web development, so it’s worth going beyond web crawlers when exploring this language.

Read the full article: How to Build a Basic Web Crawler to Pull Information From a Website

08 Feb 23:56

5 Excellent Free Lessons to Learn the Basics of Photography

by Mihir Patkar
Learning Photography

We are carrying phones with five cameras built into them. But having more cameras isn’t going to make your photos better. To shoot good pictures, try these free lessons to learn the basics of photography.

These resources dive into what anyone needs to know before taking up photography as a hobby. There are a couple of interactive apps that show how changing settings can alter a photo and a full-fledged university-level course.

1. Photography Fundamentals: A Basic Interactive Short Course

Courserock's Photography Fundamentals

What’s the difference between DSLR cameras and smartphone cameras? Why do professionals take much better pictures than you, even with the same phone? Photography Fundamentals is an interactive course that explains the basics of photography.

The scrolling course works well on phones as well as computers. It will explain a topic in simple language with visual aids. For example, there are short videos to demonstrate a topic. And there are pictures with sliding bars for a before-after effect of any technique.

At the end of any topic, you’ll get a short quiz. Answer it correctly to show you’ve understood that subject and get access to the next topic. Right now, the course talks about aperture, shutter speed, lenses, and editing.

2. Anton Gorlin: Definitive Guide to Photography Composition

Anton Gorlin has an in-depth, clear, and easy-to-understand guide to photography composition

Ask any photographer what you should learn first, and you’ll get the same answer: composition. When they say a picture tells a thousand words, it means the picture has a story in it. Much like you carefully pick the right words and put them in the right order while writing a story, you need to carefully compose the visual elements of a photograph.

You’ll find plenty of explanations and guides for photography composition on the internet, and Anton Gorlin’s definitive guide is among the best. It is easily accessible for a beginner, explaining the major rules of composition without getting too technical.

For each explanation, Gorlin provides photographs to illustrate his point. Items like Breathing Space and Visual Storytelling aren’t easy to understand if not shown through accompanying pictures. It’s a lengthy guide, so give yourself some time to read it and understand it.

Meanwhile, also check out Gorlin’s handy set of photography cheat sheets. These printable guides concisely explain best photography practices.

3. Bastards Book of Photography: Open Source Guide to Photography

The Bastards Book of Photography explains the basics of how to work with light

Dan Nguyen says you don’t need a high-end camera, fancy equipment, or Photoshop skills. A good photographer should know how to work with light, have a natural curiosity for the visual medium, and be willing to learn and practice. If that sounds like you, you’ll love The Bastards Book of Photography.

The idea of the digital book is to depend as little on external equipment and post-processing as possible. Nguyen teaches you to make the best use of light in any situation while keeping the language as simple as possible. In the process, you’ll learn how to use a camera’s manual settings to find the best way to light any scene.

Naturally, he focuses on exposure in different settings, and that’s the heart. But the book is thoughtfully put together for every aspect, with Nguyen explaining what he means with his own photographs. You won’t get jargon and techniques in this. Instead, he tells you the best practices he himself uses, and how they help.

4. Photoskop: Interactive Player to Learn Camera Settings

Photoskop lets you change camera settings to see their effects on photographs, and tells you what to look for

Photography experts keep talking about how you need to understand and manipulate the manual settings on a camera. But even if you know the technicalities, how exactly do you figure out what’s the best setting? Photoskop is an interactive guide to learn the best shot.

You’re given a photo. You can change aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, and focal length through a menu. Each change affects how the picture looks. Every time you change any setting, the photo gets new speech bubbles that explain what is wrong or right about the change. And that’s the key to understanding these settings.

Photoskop has 15 different lessons for the common types of photos you’ll click: portraits, close-ups, low-light shots, landscapes, action, sunrises, and sunsets, etc. Go through the guide for each and pay attention to every bubble to understand how to manipulate camera settings.

5. Marc Levoy’s Lectures: Free 11-Week Stanford Course

Get Marc Levoy's Digital Photography lectures he taught at Stanford as a free 11-week course

Marc Levoy taught a course on digital photography at Stanford University for 6 years. He then turned it into an 18-lecture series for Google and put the whole thing online for free. While you won’t get an academic certification, this is perhaps the best free university-level course on digital photography.

Levoy divides the 11-week course into introduction, how digital cameras work, ‘photos, pixels, and bits’, interregnum, color and lighting, and image processing. Follow the schedule to watch a video each week, download the lecture slides, and do the optional coursework. There are two recommended textbooks for further reading, which you’ll have to buy or try to get free textbooks online.

Levoy also has a few Adobe Flash applets to demonstrate certain concepts and techniques. Now Flash player is pretty much obsolete and several browsers don’t even support it anymore, but if you can securely check out the applets, they’re worth the effort.

Best Online Photography Courses

Levoy’s lectures are only one set among the many photography courses available on the internet. In the age of online education, there is a variety of other courses to choose from, both paid and free.

Some are made by communities, like Reddit’s Photoclass, and some are hosted by acclaimed photographers like Annie Liebovitz. To make your choices easier, we rounded up the best online photography courses for beginners.

Read the full article: 5 Excellent Free Lessons to Learn the Basics of Photography

08 Feb 23:55

A Brief History of the Tailgate

by Huckberry Staff
Featured civil war brightened.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

It may have never crossed our minds while we were guzzling beer and dribbling BBQ sauce down our jerseys, but the rowdy tradition of tailgating is, believe it or not, actually richly steeped in history. So crack open another cold one, it's time to learn something new. 


Civil War Tailgate


The first "tailgate" actually took place during the Civil War at the Battle of Bull Run in 1861. Sure, an active and deadly war zone may not seem like a particularly appropriate place to cheer on your favorite team, that didn't stop civilians from still coming out in droves, picnic baskets in tow, to support the Union army by chanting "Go Big Blue!" [Ed: Some 200 years later, Michigan fans are still as uncivilized as ever.]

This was a fairly momentous occassion in the history of tailgating, as it's one of the first documented cases of food being used to celebrate a heated competition happening just a few yards away. So the next time you're huddled around the grill complaining about how cold it is, just remember to be thankful that you don't have to dodge bullets and artillery fire.



Just five years after the Battle of Bull Run, Texas cattle rancher Charles Goodnight, having seen the need for soldiers to eat, regardless of where they were on the battlefield, converted an old U.S. Army transport wagon into a mobile food wagon. He served up hearty meals from the back of what he affectionately deemed the "Chuck Wagon" named after the low-priced cuts of beef he was serving (ie: the "chuck"). 

Goodnight's original design bears a striking resemblance to the truckbeds that serve as our base camp for burgers and beers. Of course, the biggest difference is that The Chuck Wagon had to be pulled by 20 oxen, while our beat-up F-150 (generally speaking) does not. 


Unknown football team


The first time tailgating and sporting events were merged was in 1869, at the inaugural football game between Princeton and Rutgers. This was back when football more closely resembled rugby, with 25 players per team, and absolutely zero discussion whatsoever about concussion safety (or helmets for that matter). Before the game began, Rutgers fans gathered to eat food together while wearing scarlet scarves they had tied into turbans and set about creating a ruckus. The show of support seemed to work, as Rutgers went on to beat Princeton 6 - 4. 

Today, tailgates remain just as popular as they were a century ago. Wood stoves have been swapped out for propane grills, scarlet turbans for cheese heads and baseball caps. But tailgates represent far more than a chance to drink beer and eat red meat (both worthwhile pursuits on their own).

The camaraderie and revelry that brings us together — rain or shine, sleet or snow — paralells the action on the field, and remains something near-impossible to find anywhere else.



 



>>Next: Jalapeño Cornbread
 




 

 

08 Feb 23:54

The Toughest Fish to Catch in the World

by Will Porter
Featured permit fish.jpeg?ixlib=rails 2.1

After a 30 minute cruise on the 23-foot locally-built Panga “Tranquila” - aptly named to calm your nerves - we pull up to the first Permit flat. A few seconds after turning the motor off, a school of ten fish is cruising straight for the boat. Under the water, the Permit are minding their own business and searching for food just like any other day - but up on the boat, total chaos ensues. Our local guides Oscar and Abraham are frantically whispering in Spanish telling me to take the shot. So I quickly jump up on the bow as the school heads our way, and strip off fifty feet of fly line from my reel to get ready to make the cast. But as I go to make a cast, I notice that my fly is caught up in a bird nest of fly-line. The pressure got the best of me and I rushed the preparation. By the time I get my line sorted, all but eight seconds later, the fish are nowhere to be seen, before I can get a cast off - and I quickly learn why the boat’s name is Tranquila.


 


 

Mike Idell
Mike Idell, Huckberry Marketing

Permit (or “Palometa”, en Español) don’t want to be exposed on the knee-deep flats of the ocean where you can see them - they’d much prefer to be safe in the deep, but they have no choice. The flats are the best place for them to find food, like crab, shrimp, and small fish. By analyzing certain tides and conditions, you’re able to predict where they might be at certain times, giving yourself the best odds of running into them while they’re searching for their next meal. They’ll typically cruise around oblivious to anything but their next meal, but with their wide-forked tails and steel-spined bodies, they have the ability to maneuver like a torpedo whenever they want to. Their quickness and strength-per-inch is astonishing—part of what makes them a top catch-and-release game fish. As fun as it sounds to catch one, the Permit is a notoriously smart and stubborn fish; so much so that it has earned a reputation as the toughest and most frustrating fish to catch on a fly. They’re extremely hard to find, elusive once you find them, and totally unpredictable if you’re lucky enough to even get a cast off at one.

People go years trying to target Permit without ever catching one.

That’s why we’re in Mexico—one of the few places around the world you can actually find them. The name of the game when trying to catch Permit is finding the perfect balance between skill and luck. It’s hunting, for a single trophy, and you need to be able to accept the fact that you probably won’t catch one, even over the course of a week searching for them. Just seeing a few fish is considered a good day in many Permit fisheries. Some days they just aren’t out on the flats. People go years trying to target Permit without ever catching one. There are just too many things that need to go perfectly for the stars to align. There are times where you need to be able to cast a fly 90 feet, into the wind, right onto a dinner plate in order to even have a chance. Even if you’re a world-class fly caster, they might reject a perfectly casted fly 9/10 times. And this is what makes the Permit so desirable to fly anglers: the challenge is so great that the reward is unmatched. Even a fish of just a few pounds is regarded as a trophy. It’s connecting with a Permit, any Permit, that’s so damn hard and so sought after.

 

Even if you’re a world-class fly caster, they might reject a perfectly casted fly 9/10 times

If you happen to even get a shot at a fish, one of the most common mistakes made when Permit fishing is the typical trout fisherman’s instinct to lift the rod high and quickly in order to set the hook as you are vehemently taught when learning how to fish for trout. Permit feed and behave differently than trout, have different mouths, movements, and tendencies, so the technique for actually hooking up requires you to strip-set the line by quickly pulling the slack out of the fly line with your free hand, instead of setting the hook as you would on a trout, lifting the rod quickly to remove slack in the line to get tight to the fish. If you “trout-set”, you’re likely going to pull in too much slack too quickly and your chance at the fish is gone. Muscle memory is your worst enemy in this case and can easily take over when you’ve only got less than a second to think.

When everything finally comes together - the tides are right, the wind is cooperating, the sun is high enough to see the fish, you actually find a Permit, you get a shot, you make a good cast, you’ve chosen the right fly, the fish decides to eat the fly, and it actually eats the fly - you need to stay focused on your technique amidst the chaos, hoping you don’t trout-set and blow your chance at the final moment.

Casting Into The Flats

In Ascension Bay, Mexico, Permit are a legally protected catch-and-release only fish. The Bay is part of a protected 250 square-mile Sian Ka'an Biosphere, where, by law, only 40 boats are allowed to fish per day, keeping pressure on the bay at a minimum. On a small peninsula in the northern area of Ascension Bay lies Punta Allen, a sleepy village of only 600 people. Punta Allen is a few hours south of Tulum, only accessible by a bumpy dirt road through the jungle, complete with a river crossing near the end lined with saltwater crocs. It’s like going back in time when you get down there—dirt roads, no cell service, one grocery store, a community sand soccer field, and a giant 25-foot sculpture of a Permit in the center of the town. Punta Allen’s economy relies primarily on lobster fishing, ecotourism, and guided fly-fishing. The town lives and breathes fishing; it’s in their blood. The guides and their families have been interacting with the ocean and fishery for generations.

The guides are so good, and take so much pride in what they do, that they keep track of their lifetime number of every single Permit that they’ve landed. It’s a source of well-respected pride in the town amongst the guides. And not only do they have incredible eyesight - many of them can cast an entire fly line (90-100ft), without a rod. Their Permit fishing knowledge, fundamentals, and natural instincts are some of the best in the world.



Fly Rods


Tranqila On The Flats


Permit Swimming

Ascension Bay Lodge - our home for a few days - is the last property at the end of the only road down in Punta Allen. The lodge is lined with palm trees and is right on the beach, with a palapa covered patio and homemade horse-shoe out front. From the lodge, you can see the pangas tied up to the beach out front, ready for battle the next day. At ABL, you’re quick to realize that it’s an oasis within an oasis. Daniel Marquez, the owner of the lodge, caught his first Permit on a trip to Mexico when he was 19, and knew he would end up there someday after that moment. He’s now built his life down in Punta Allen and is an integral part of their economy and community - providing work and opportunity for numerous guides and staff. He’s married to a local and plans to raise his two kids there. ABL is an independent, family-owned and operated business—and it feels that way when you’re there. The lodge is filled with a vintage local map, Mayan art, and a bookshelf with everything from a few Hunter S. Thompson novels, a book called The Cigar Companion, and Permit on a Fly, a 1970s book that was my bible for the week. The hospitality and generosity at ABL is genuine, and many of the guests that stay there go there for that reason—apart from it being in the heart of an incredible Permit fishery.

Hanging Out At ABL

This is why a man called “Permit Bill”, a well known, 70-something Permit fishing legend, goes to ABL each year. He’s been going back to Punta Allen to fish for 30 years straight, usually staying for 3 or 4 months at a time, sleeping in a hammock. Bill has caught 54 Permit in his life - 11 of those from a kayak, without a guide. But Bill goes back to Punta Allen for more than just Permit. He has ingrained himself in the Punta Allen community, which is what draws him back more than fishing itself. He’s done everything from building a soccer stadium for the community, to organizing annual Christmas gifts for all of the local kids. He’s known as “Abuelo” around town. He’s a humble guy who sees Punta Allen for much more than just a fishery - and just like the rest of us, feels right at home at ABL. And I think his Permit-luck karma speaks for itself. 

When we first arrived, Daniel and Abuelo were quick to tell me the only rule in Ascension Bay: if you’re lucky enough to catch a Permit, tradition requires you to drink a shot of tequila, or you’ll bear the curse and may never catch one again. I laughed that off when I heard it, and then I was told that one guest chose not to do so, and didn’t catch a permit for 14 years. 



Tranquila on the Water
 


At this point, we’re starting to accept the reality that it’s not going to happen.

By the end of day 3, it’s been a long few days of searching for Permit and we’ve come back to the lodge each evening with little to show for it. At this point, we’re starting to accept the reality that it’s not going to happen. But we lick our wounds, play a few rounds of horseshoes, and head back inside the lodge. After a few Tequilas, Abuelo eventually jokingly says, “I never want to see a Permit, ever again” before going off to bed.
 
On the final day, back on Tranquila, we’ve pulled up to another sand flat in search of a fish. A Frigate, which can stay up in the sky without flapping its wings for an entire month at a time, floats above us. A good sign. We’ve been out all day and have had a few shots at fish - but the fish aren’t cooperating, as per usual. It’s been about an hour, maybe longer since we’ve seen any sign of life. I haven’t heard Abraham or Oscar say “Está muerto” yet, their way of saying “this flat is void of all life right now and there are no Permit around”, so I know still have a chance of seeing a fish.

Fish In Water

Eventually, we see a fish cruise onto the flat from a distance. Like clockwork, chaos ensues on the boat. Oscar quickly says, “10 O’clock! 100 feet!” This time, my line is good to go - I’m ready for the shot, as soon as it gets within range. Right as I’m about to make my cast, a cloud drifts overhead, blocking the sun. The three-foot deep sand flat instantly turns from a crystal clear turquoise to an opaque deep blue and the ghost of a fish vanishes as if it was never there.

Visibility gone, I decide to cast my crab fly into the void anyway, where I thought the fish might go. I start hesitantly stripping my line back to the boat, and thirty feet out the line goes tight. A fish on the other end shakes and bumps a few times. “Probably a small bonefish,” says Abraham - there’s a lot of those out there in the same places where the Permit live, and occasionally they’ll grab flies out of nowhere. Not what we’re going for, but we’ll take it. Then, it turns and briefly shows itself with a bright silver flash, and Abraham yells “Palometa! Palometa!”. The fish then sprints 150 feet in half a second. A nerve-wracking 15 minutes later we managed to tail the Permit. Finally, it’s in our hands. After all that, days of waiting and sighting fish, placing perfect casts right on their heads with no prevail, fly changes, strategy changes, and countless locations, it came to us on a blind cast. We take a few quick photos, remove the hook, kiss it goodbye, and release it. After high fives all around, Oscar turns to me and says, “Hey, it’s better to be lucky than be good.” That right there was the best backhanded compliment I’ll ever receive.

It’d be pretty damn hard for the elusive Permit to live up to its reputation more than it did that day. I’m glad I didn’t trout-set - because if I had known for sure that there was a fish right in front of us about to eat the fly, I wouldn’t have stood a chance. And it goes without saying, I drank that shot of tequila with delight.


Permit In Hand
 

To book your own saltwater fly fishing trip, contact Ascension Bay Lodge here.



>>Next: The 5 Pants Every Guy Should Own 
 



 

08 Feb 23:53

Best New Shotgun Ammo of the 2020 SHOT Show

by Phil Bourjaily

Ammo makers find new and useful variations on the familiar theme of shot, powder, wads, hulls, and primers every year, and it’s the new shotshells that excite me as I walked the aisles of the SHOT Show recently. This year’s class has something for everyone: deer hunters get new slugs; turkey hunters have two more TSS options; target shooters get a premium load; home-defenders can shoot innovative new buckshot; 16- and 28-gauge hunters have their own mixed-shot upland loads, and waterfowlers get a new bismuth load and what may be the wad of the future. Here are the shotshell highlights of SHOT 2020.

Rio BlueSteel Pro Eco Ammo

Rio’s Pro Eco shotshell wads completely dissolve in water after a couple of days.
Rio’s Pro Eco shotshell wads completely dissolve in water after a couple of days. (Rio Ammo /)

My prediction for the 2020s: Plastic wads will become the new lead shot. Already, coastal watch groups in California are complaining about and documenting plastic wads fired inland washing up on California beaches. Rio’s BlueSteel Pro Eco ammo may be in all of our futures. Loaded with biodegradable wads made of vegetable derivatives, Pro Eco wads break down completely in water after a couple of days. At last year’s SHOT Show, Rio unveiled the wads only, dissolving in a goldfish bowl in their booth. This year, they have two completed loads ready to go: a 2-¾-inch, 12-gauge, 1325-fps, 1-ounce shell loaded with 5, 6, or 7 shot for upland use, and a 3-inch, 12-gauge, 1550-fps, 1-⅛-ounce load of BB, 2, 4, or 5 shot. Prices start at $6.24 per 10; rioammo.com

Winchester Diamond Grade Target

If you're looking for top-of-the-line target loads, look no further than Winchester Diamond Grade.
If you're looking for top-of-the-line target loads, look no further than Winchester Diamond Grade. (Winchester /)

Working with input from top sporting clays competitors, Winchester set out to make the ultimate premium target load, and the result is the new Diamond Grade AA ammunition. The shot contains 8 percent antimony, making these the hardest lead-shot pellets on the market. The shot is tabled (sorted) to be as uniform in size as possible, and copper-plated for good measure. Four initial sporting clays loads will be offered in 12 gauge, 1 and 1 ⅛ ounces at velocities from 1250 to 1350 fps. The price will be a dollar or two higher than regular AA target loads. winchester.com

Federal Force X2 Buckshot

The pellets in Federal Force X2 Buckshot split apart on impact to create more damage and reduce the chance of over-penetration.
The pellets in Federal Force X2 Buckshot split apart on impact to create more damage and reduce the chance of over-penetration. (Federal Ammunition/)

Each Force X2 buck load contains nine 00 pellets that turn into 18 upon impact. Each pellet is split halfway, looking more like a splitshot sinker than a buckshot pellet. When it hits its target, it breaks in half, creating a total of 18 wound channels, which made an impressive mess of the block of ballistic gelatin Federal had on display at its booth. The shotshell engineer I talked to said the notched pellets pattern about the same as regular round buck at short, self-defense distances. They are loaded to a velocity of 1145 fps and will sell for $22.95 per 10. federalpremium.com

Remington Premier TSS

Remington's Premier line of TSS loads offers turkey hunters a variety of loads, gauges, and shot sizes.
Remington's Premier line of TSS loads offers turkey hunters a variety of loads, gauges, and shot sizes. (Remington /)

Who would have thought that in these days of race-to-the-bottom gun prices that ammunition costing $10 a shell would sell so well? Turkey hunters love the stuff, both because the super-dense pellets extend the range of bigger bores to unheard-of distances, and because TSS also makes the .410 into a viable 35- to 40-yard turkey gun. The new Premier TSS line consists of 3-inch 12, 20, and .410 loads, with the 12-gauge offering 1¾-ounce loads in 7, 8, and 9 shot; 20-gauge coming in 1½ ounces of 7 or 9 shot, and .410 in 7/8 ounce loads of 9s. Prices start at $29.99 per five for .410 and go up to $49.99 in 12-gauge. remington.com/ammunition

Remington Barnes VOR-TX Expander Tipped Slug

Remington is now loading Barnes VOR-TX solid copper slugs in 12- and 20-gauge.
Remington is now loading Barnes VOR-TX solid copper slugs in 12- and 20-gauge. (Remington/)

As straight-wall cartridges sweep former slug-only areas, the shotgun slug doesn’t get a lot of attention from ammo makers anymore. Remington bucks the trend by loading Expander-tipped Barnes slugs in 2¾- and 3-inch, 12- and 20-gauge loads. Not only will they provide reliable expansion and 100 percent weight retention, but the copper slugs will be legal everywhere as they contain no lead at all. The 20-gauge slugs reach velocities up to 1850 fps in 3-inch, and are the flatter-shooting choice. Starting at $15.13 per 5. remington.com/ammunition

Federal Prairie Storm 16 and 28 gauge

Federal's new 1¼-ounce 16-gauge Prairie Storm should make a good heavy load for pheasants.
Federal's new 1¼-ounce 16-gauge Prairie Storm should make a good heavy load for pheasants. (Federal Ammunition/)

Federal’s fast, tight-patterning Prairie Storm is a favorite among hunters who believe in the more is more theory when it comes to hunting tough ringneck pheasants. Increased interest among hunters in the 16 and 28 gauges led to the introduction of four new Prairie Storm loads this year, the first offered for those two gauges. Like other Prairie Storm offerings, they contain a mix of 70 percent standard, round pellets and 30 percent ridged Flitestoppers inside the Flitecontrol Flex wad. The 16 comes in 1425 fps, 1¼-ounce loads of 4, 5, or 6 shot, which is a fast, heavy load for a 16, and will be a handful in a light gun, but also a hammer on game. The 28 gauge comes in 13/16 ounce loads of 6 shot only. Starting at $34.95; federalpremium.com

Read Next: Best New Shotguns of the 2020 SHOT Show

HeviShot Hevi18

The new TSS load from HeviShot offers a No. 7-shot .410 that may be legal in states that have shot-size restrictions for turkey hunting.
The new TSS load from HeviShot offers a No. 7-shot .410 that may be legal in states that have shot-size restrictions for turkey hunting. (HeviShot /)

It’s only fitting that the original heavier-than-lead shotshell maker should get on board the TSS train. For 2020, HeviShot offers its own take on the super-dense turkey load in 12, 20, and .410. The 12-gauge shells come in 3-inch, 2-ounce and 3½-inch, 2¼-ounce loads of 7 or 9 shot. Twenty gauge shells are 3-inch, 1½-ounce 7s or 9s, and the .410 is a 13/16-ounce load, also in 7 and 9 shot. I may be wrong, but I’m not sure anyone else loads 7s in the .410, which may make it legal in states that don’t allow shot smaller than 7 ½. The Hevishot loads contain a special round buffer for better patterns, and the crimps are sealed to keep the buffer in the shell where it can do you some good. Starting at $30.50 per box of 5 .410 shells, up to $68.78 per 5 3½-inch 12-gauge; hevishot.com

08 Feb 23:52

Best Cheap Guns of SHOT Show 2020

by Joseph Albanese

Every year, SHOT Show sees a lot of drool-worthy releases in the form of firearms that cost more than my first car. These aspirational arms are great, and I hope to get my hands on as many of them as possible eventually. But the truth is that my budget runs more domestic beer than imported champagne, so I always look for guns that aren’t going to break the bank but will work every time I need them to. This year brought a bumper crop of affordable rifles, shotguns, and handguns. Here are some of 2020’s best inexpensive firearms for the field or the range.

1. CVA Scout .410 Compact Shotgun

Paired with TSS loads, the CVA Scout .410 Compact Shotgun makes a handy turkey gun for youth or adult hunters.
Paired with TSS loads, the CVA Scout .410 Compact Shotgun makes a handy turkey gun for youth or adult hunters. (CVA/)

With the use of TSS shot becoming more commonplace, the scattergun market is seeing more turkey offerings in the sub-gauges. New from CVA is the Scout compact shotgun in .410. It wears a camo finish to help hide it from wary toms and has a choke specifically engineered to take advantage of TSS shot. The break-action is fitted with a rail that works with both Picatinny and Weaver-style bases so you can use your favorite optic, and an ambidextrous cocking spur means that it won’t get in the way. Because the shotgun is built on the same chassis as the Scout centerfire rifles, the excellent trigger has made its way over. The stock gives you about an inch of adjustment, so you can fit it to shooters of smaller stature as well as full-size hunters. CVA’s Crush Zone recoil pad easily eats up what little kick comes from the .410, making this a great choice for junior or recoil-adverse turkey hunters. $398; cva.com

2. Stoeger STR-9 Optics Ready

This year Stoeger is offering a version of their STR-9 with an optics-ready slide.
This year Stoeger is offering a version of their STR-9 with an optics-ready slide. (stoeger/)

Last year Stoeger unveiled their first pistol—the duty-sized STR-9. The budget striker-fired 9mm quickly gained fans thanks to its no-nonsense, reliable design, and enhanced ergonomics. The new optics-ready version has a machined area atop the rear of the slide to accept any of four included mounting plates—allowing shooters to easily affix an optic of their choice. Three different backstrap options are included for a custom fit (a feature usually reserved for pistols costing twice as much), and the fore and aft slide serrations already make chambering a round while a red dot is mounted on the gun a breeze. An integrated rail, internal safety, reversible magazine release, and three-dot sight system add to the appeal for those who carry daily. Stoeger also recognized the wave of magazine size restrictions sweeping the country, and the STR-9 can now be purchased with lower-capacity, 10-round magazines. $399; stoeger.com

3. Cimarron Bad Boy 10mm Revolver

Cimarron's new Bad Boy Revolver can chamber the 10mm auto without the use of moon clips.
Cimarron's new Bad Boy Revolver can chamber the 10mm auto without the use of moon clips. (Cimarron /)

The Internet has unanimously declared that 10mm is the best millimeter. Such fame has driven the price of the round, and the guns chambered for it, skyward. However, there are still bargains to be found, and some are pretty innovative. Cimarron, known for their high-quality reproductions of Old West arms, has given the Single Action Army a new twist by chambering it in 10mm. The round has just enough of a lip to work in the gun’s six-shot cylinder without the need for moon clips or the like, so it can load through a standard SAA swing-out loading gate. The Bad Boy also has one major difference from the traditional pre-war Single Action Army silhouette: the ability to mount a Picatinny rail. Adding an optic atop the eight-inch barrel and loading up with hard cast bullets turns this wheel gun into a deer or hog hunter’s dream. $726, but expect street prices to be lower; cimarron-firearms.com

4. Taurus Defender 856

A longer barrel and longer sight radius should boost the accuracy of the Taurus Defender 856.
A longer barrel and longer sight radius should boost the accuracy of the Taurus Defender 856. (Taurus/)

Taurus upgrades its budget revolver line with a 3-inch barrel for 2020. The existing pistols in the 856 line had 2-inch barrels, and shot like it. Taurus claims the bigger sight radius afforded by the longer barrel tightens groups considerably. The six-shot revolvers are chambered for .38 Special, and are rated for +P rounds. Despite the increased accuracy, don’t expect a precision trigger. One squeeze revealed the mushy feel that has become synonymous with Taurus. Several grip, sight, and finish options are available, including Hogue rubber grips, Cerakote treatments, and HIVIZ night sights. MSRP starts at $430; taurususa.com

Read Next: Best New Hunting and Trail Handguns from the 2020 SHOT Show

5. Mossberg MC2c

Mossberg MC2c is a larger version of the pistol they released last year, yet it is still a good concealed-carry option.
Mossberg MC2c is a larger version of the pistol they released last year, yet it is still a good concealed-carry option. (Mossberg/)

At last year’s SHOT Show, Mossberg rolled out its first handgun in 100 years: the subcompact MC1sc. The budget handgun sold like gangbusters, so Mossberg decided to give shooters a larger version in 2020. The MC2c gains a longer barrel and larger grip over its predecessor, with increased magazine capacity too. Despite the larger frame, the MC2c conceals well enough to be a viable candidate for everyday carry. The new pistol also retains the easy takedown of the MC1sc, allowing users to field strip it without tools—or needing to pull the trigger. The trigger pull is excellent for a pistol in this price range, with the flat-faced trigger offering admirable take-up and reset. The MC2c ships with both a flush-fitting 13-round mag and an extended 15 rounder, which offers more grip surface. $490; mossberg.com.

6. Stevens 555 Trap

For trap shooters on a budget, the Stevens 555 Trap has an adjustable stock and comes with three chokes.
For trap shooters on a budget, the Stevens 555 Trap has an adjustable stock and comes with three chokes. (Stevens/)

You probably don’t think budget when you think of dedicated trap guns, but the Stevens 555 Trap manages to fall into both categories. This single-barrel trap specialist is built on the same lightweight aluminum receiver as the double guns in the Stevens line so you can bust clays all day without getting fatigued. Because it is designed for shooting clays rather than hunting, the 555 Trap features a manual tang safety and an extractor in lieu of hull-tossing ejectors. Like sporting guns costing much more, the Turkish-walnut stock has an adjustable comb that allows for a precision fit. Though the checkering is machine cut, it affords plenty of purchase, and the chrome-lined barrel is fitted with a raised, ventilated rib with a bead. Compact and full-size models are available in both 12- and 20-gauge built on gauge-specific receivers. Three chokes are included with purchase. $689; savagearms.com.

7. Altor Pistol

The Altor Pistol may have been one of the cheapest guns at SHOT Show.
The Altor Pistol may have been one of the cheapest guns at SHOT Show. (Altor Corperation/)

This single-shot offering from Altor is a bit of a head scratcher, but it definitely fits within the budget parameters of this list. This striker-fired single shot bears more than a passing resemblance to the Deer gun distributed to our allies by the CIA during the Vietnam War, but it has a different firing mechanism. I’m hard-pressed to find any meaningful self-defense use for the Altor, but it could prove useful in a survival situation. The price is low enough that you can stash a couple in a bush plane or go-bag just in case the need arises, and the inner workings are simple enough that they can be completely rebuilt with a Leatherman if necessary. The little single-shot could also be useful on a trap line, or as part of a traveling veterinarian’s kit. Two calibers are currently available: .380 ACP and 9mm Luger. $119 in .380, $129 in 9mm; altorcorp.com

Read Next: First Look: CZ All-Terrain Shotguns

8. ATI MILSPORT AR .450 Bushmaster

The ATI MILSPORT is an affordable MSR platform for hunters in straight-wall-cartridge-only states.
The ATI MILSPORT is an affordable MSR platform for hunters in straight-wall-cartridge-only states. (ATI/)

Straight wall cartridges have been rapidly gaining favor with hunters. In many states, these rounds are allowing hunters to use centerfire rifles in areas that traditionally required shotgun slugs during deer season. Modern sporting rifles are also gaining momentum in the hunting community, so it makes sense that we are starting to see a marriage of the two. Big-bore AR-style rifles typically carry large price tags, but the ATI MILSPORT AR in .450 Bushmaster isn’t one of them. This thumper of a round, based on a cut-down .284 Winchester case, is ideal for deer and hogs at moderate ranges, with the big pill providing lots of stopping power. The gas system soaks up some felt recoil, but you won’t mistake it for a 5.56. A full-length Picatinny rail gives you plenty of options to mount optics, and a Keymod free-floating handguard lets you attach lights if chasing bacon after dark is your thing. $699; americantactical.us

9. Bond Arms Grizzly

If you’re looking for a tackle box gun, look no further than the Bond Arms Grizzly. Texas-based Bond Arms has been making double-barreled derringers with as much pizzazz as function in a variety of calibers since 1995. To keep costs down on the Roughneck series, Bond omitted the lengthy polishing process they usually use in favor of a bead-blasted finish. They took this approach with the new Grizzly, a stainless derringer with the same rebounding hammer, retracting firing pins, and cross-bolt safety found on all Bond firearms. To take the look up a notch, they also added rosewood grips with an engraved bear motif and included an embossed leather sheath that works well in a pocket or on a belt. Chambered in .45 LC/.410, the Grizzly is an excellent choice as a last line of defense in snake country. $377; bondarms.com

10. Palmetto State Armory PS9 Dagger

Adding features like a sight rail and a threaded barrel to your PS9 Dagger will only cost an extra $50.
Adding features like a sight rail and a threaded barrel to your PS9 Dagger will only cost an extra $50. (Palmetto State Armory/)

Palmetto State Armory (PSA) is known for their low-priced AR and AK parts, but they hope to make inroads into the polymer pistol market with their new 9mm Glock clone, the PS9 Dagger. PSA definitely wasn’t looking to reinvent the wheel with this one. They stayed so close to Gaston’s winning formula that many factory Glock Gen 3 parts can interchange with the Dagger, including the trigger group and magazine. They did make some improvements; notably, they opted for metal sights instead of the plastic ones on the original, the stippling on the grip provides more purchase, and the PS9 has striations on the front of the slide. An undercut trigger guard also gives your hands more real estate, and allows for a higher grip. The price is very friendly, with base models starting at only $300, and adding a slide cut for an optic, a threaded barrel, and suppressor-height sights only bumps the price up $50. $299; palmettostatearmory.com

11. Savage Mark II Minimalist


The cut-away stock on the Savage Mark II Minimalist brings the weight of the rifle down to 5½ pounds.
The cut-away stock on the Savage Mark II Minimalist brings the weight of the rifle down to 5½ pounds. (Savage/)

This year Savage reimagined their Mark II bolt-action by placing it in a minimalist stock created by Boyd’s. By removing unnecessary chunks of the laminate, they’ve gotten the weight down to about 5½ pounds—light enough to trudge through the squirrel woods all day. The Mark II still has the AccuTrigger we’ve all come to love, which is user-adjustable to break between 2½ and 6 pounds with no creep. The button-rifled sporter-contour barrel is also threaded, should you decide to use a suppressor or muzzle device. For convenience, it feeds from a 10-round detachable magazine, which makes loading and unloading a breeze. The action and barrel are coated in a matte black finish, and two stock colors are available: brown and green. Weaver-style bases make the addition of any optic easy. $539, savagearms.com

12. Charles Daly 601 Shotgun

For less than $350, this semi-automatic Charles Daly shotgun comes with 3 choke tubes.
For less than $350, this semi-automatic Charles Daly shotgun comes with 3 choke tubes. (Charles Daly /)

Despite their low price, Charles Daly shotguns are loved by those who use them. For 2020, Charles Daly released a new line of gas-operated semi-autos in 12 and 20 gauge. Straddling the line between low price and quality finish is the 601, a 12-gauge that’s well suited to the field but would also fit in with fancier guns at the club. The aluminum receiver sports a classic humpback look, and keeps weight down while digesting both 2¾- and 3-inch shells. The wood is better than expected at this price, and it features a pleasing machine-cut textured grip and forend that look and feel good. The muzzle is threaded in the Beretta/Benelli Mobil Choke pattern so there are plenty of aftermarket options, and the gun ships with improved cylinder, modified, and full choke tubes. $339, charlesdaly.com.

13. Marlin Model 60 150th Anniversary Edition

Marlin Model 60 150th Anniversary Edition
Marlin Model 60 150th Anniversary Edition (Marlin /)

Marlin turned 150 this year, and to celebrate they are releasing commemorative editions of some of their favorite firearms. The one I’m most excited about is the Model 60, one of history’s best-selling .22 semi-autos with over 10 million purchased during a 60-year run. The Anniversary Edition retains all of the features of the original like the 14-shot tubular magazine and bolt hold-open on the last shot. The gun also gains a special serial number, a black walnut stock, and a medallion in the butt to signify the birthday while adding a touch of class. Another great thing about shooting a Model 60 is that many magazine-capacity laws specifically bypass tube magazines so you can load up and plink to your heart’s content. It’s not the cheapest rimfire on the market, but it’s a chance to own a piece of history at an affordable price. $399; marlinfirearms.com

Read Next: Best New Long-Range Precision Rifles of the 2020 SHOT Show

14. Stoeger P3000 Freedom Series Supreme

Stoeger's P3000 Freedom is a budget-friendly, home-defense shotgun that offers features often found on more expensive guns.
Stoeger's P3000 Freedom is a budget-friendly, home-defense shotgun that offers features often found on more expensive guns. (Stoeger /)

If you need a home-defense gun that isn’t going to break the bank, take a good look at the Stoeger P3000 Freedom Series Supreme. This pump-action 12-gauge features a folding stock that makes covert storage and navigating the tight confines of a residential hallway easy, while offering support when needed. The six-position buttstock has an adjustable cheek rest for a custom fit, and the gun can pull double-duty on turkeys (check magazine capacity laws for hunting in your area). The extended magazine tube holds up to seven rounds, for a total capacity of eight. Ghost-ring sights allow for rapid target acquisition and make hitting with buckshot or slugs easier at even longer ranges. $469; stoegerindustries.com

15. CZ Bobwhite G2 All Terrain

The CZ Bobwhite G2 All Terrain has magnetic chambers that hold shells no matter what position the shotgun is in.
The CZ Bobwhite G2 All Terrain has magnetic chambers that hold shells no matter what position the shotgun is in. ( CZ Firearms/)

CZ is likely to upset many traditionalists by finishing a double-trigger side-by-side in an olive drab ceramic coating, but they did it anyway. Built for life in the marsh or hunting the uplands in any weather, CZ’s new All Terrain shotguns have a protective Cerakote finish over any exposed metal—even the screw heads. But perhaps the most innovative feature is the patent-pending magnetic chamber. A pair of small but powerful magnets set in the extractor claws hold on to the steel head that’s hidden behind the brass on almost every shotgun shell, no matter what position the gun is in. This means you don’t need to point your barrels downward to reload, or worry about shells dropping from the chamber to the ground. The Bobwhite G2 is fitted with an English-style straight grip and 28-inch barrels. Twelve- and 20-gauge guns are built on gauge-specific frames. MSRP $828; cz-usa.com