THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
May 3 - May 9, 1999
This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the monthly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 4,000 - 7,000 words, depending. For more on what this place is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE.
|Previous Weeks of The View:||For an index
of previous pages of view, see VIEWDEX.
See also the New Order page, which tries to make order of chaos. These will be useful.
For the rest, see What is this place? for some details on where you have got to.
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The LINUX pages are organized as the log, my queries, and your responses and advice parts one, two, three, and four. There's four pages because I try to keep download times well under a minute. There are new updates to four.
Highlights this week:
May 3, 1999
Nothing is ever simple. I went down to the beach house Friday (I thought I mentioned that in last week's view) where I discovered that Front Page had redated a lot of my pages, only there was nothing I could do about it. Drove back up today to discover that my phone line was "broken at the central office" making me wonder if they are tapping my phones because of my Intellectual Capital column on Columbine. I doubt it, but with this crazy outfit who knows? I have hundreds of letters on that colukmn; about five are hate mail, and the rest are from alienated young people, or adults who were alienated in youth. Interestingly the hate mail is mostly ungrammatical while that from young people is in decent English. I don't know how that correlates, but since three of the ungrammatical letters are from teachers (and all demand that I do not publish their letters) one does wonder.
Thanks to those who wondered if I am all right. I am, although I've still got a bit of a sore throat and stuffy nose; at least there's not active sinus pain.
This is Column Week so I will be working on that. Got some work done at the beach. Thanks to everyone.
There is a new (short) addition to Moshe Bar's opinion. Clearly I think his views worth reading or I wouldn't post them here...
May 4, 1999
I must be more obscure than I thought, given the mail I have been getting about reinstalling Windows 95. I was installing from a hard disk. Unfortunately, Windows 95 was looking for a driver; it starts to look at a CDROM; it can't find a CDROM; and it never gave me a chance to direct it elsewhere. The BIOS detected a CDROM drive and apparently Windows knew it was there, but because it was SCSI it couldn't find it; but it never stopped looking, and thus never gave control to let me tell it to ignore that and go on installing from Windows/Options/Cabs. I thought I had made that clear. Anyway, yes, I put 95b on Windows/options./cabs but it did no good. Eventually I made a boot disk with the SCSI drivers on it, booted from that, and got past the problem. ONce it could get past looking for the CDROM it went back to the hard drive, continued the installation, and all was well.
I have not had that problem with IDE CDROM drives. It's apparently a peculiarity for Windows 95 setup with SCSI CDROM. Thanks to all who wrote letters about it.
Spent the day at Niven's place complete with hikes. Joined for teh day by Roland Dobbins frequent correspondent who happened to be in town. First hike since my sinus mess and first for Sasha since his abcess. We took a long one, and we're both better for it I think. Simon and Schuster likes THE BURNING CITY a lot and John Ordover has some more -- good -- suggestions, which we worked on in the hike. Alas, one, pacing in the early chapters, can only be done by me; I cut about 20 words out of each page of the original MOTE which is why it reads so fast, and I am going to have to do that to Burning City. That's hard work. But it sure adds to a book.
And St. Martins/Tor Books wants HIGH TECH WARS right now, and I guess it is blooming well time. So it is not as if I don't have anything to do...
Cinco de Mayo 1999
A lot to do today, and I'm just getting started. I have a new Pentium III chip and Intel motherboard from Intel. The motherboard has built in video and sound. I wonder if that is wise? Those who want a P III are likely to want blazing hot stuff, which means their own video boad, probably the ATI Rage FURY with 32 mb memory. I like that board a lot. for office systems a built in board makes sense, but when we get to these really fast high end chips, is this a good idea? I need to think on it.
Column due in two days so it's work time.
Grinding along despite all kinds of very odd interruptions. More from Simon and Schuster on BURNING CITY which looks to be a big book, probably a best seller. Have to work on that, trim 10% out of the early chapters wihout changing anything you'd notice. I did that to Mote In God's Eye to great improvement of the book but it is hard work...
May 6, 1999
There's a fairly comprehensive bit about registry cleaning for NT and Windows 9x over in mail; worth your attention if you have any interest at all.
I am expecting a visit from Number Nine and their PR firm Technopolis (Steve Leon's Technopolis puts on Show Stoppers, one of the more effective "mini-shows" that have become invaluable to the pres at big trade shows, and like the best of the PR people, doesn't waste my time: he knows what I am interested in, and that's what he shows). Anyway that and the column ought to eat the day.
Lunch with Number Nine after a big demo of what's coming. Exciting things happening in video. Astonishing stuff. Also flat panel displays are getting to be good enough to play Doom and Quake on. Amazing. And the 15 pin VGA cable will go away...
Was out to Fry's today to get a case for a new Intel Pentium III. I'd normally wait to get a PC POWER and COOLING case and power supply from Larry Aldridge at PC Cool, but I was in a bit of a hurry. I should have waited. I now have a new person to put on my "find and beat senseless" list, the chap who designed this case, which has screws to hold on the front plastic panel, and bunch of other idiosyncrasies. I will admit it's hefty, and the 300 Watt power supply ought to take care of all the stuff I intend to put in the P III. I'm of mixed emotions about which operating system to put in it, but I'm inclined to Windows 2000, which I have.
May 7 1999
The big registry cleanup section over in mail grows; it turns out that one of the more useful tools comes with Windows 98 and isn't available on 95b.
I have had just enough problems setting up the big new Pentium III system that I'm putting off that for next month's column. Still have a thousand words or so to do. Better get to it. And there's a neat Y2K trick for your VCR over in mail.
Column now done. The big Pentium III 450 is running DOS from Windows 98 Second Edition. The 13 Gigabyte hard drive formats out to 12 and change 9in FAT 32. The Pentium III has a huge heat sink and no fan, and that worries me just a little. I think tomorrow I'll go out to Fry's and get a couple of chip fans, one that I can glue onto that heat sink just in case. It doesn't seem to get too hot, but the case power supply fan doesn't move enough air to suit me. I may get a large muffin fan too. The system is very quiet, and I'd hate to get it too loud, but I don't want to fry any chips either.
Configuring this Intel motherboard is a bit of an experience. Apparently you have to change a jumper to get it to accept new devices, then when it has got itself configured put the jumper back to "normal" after which you can't get back into the BIOS configuration mode until you change the jumper again. This seems odd, and I am not at all sure it's right. The paper documentation is a bit sparse. There's a CD and I suppose I can read all about it there, and I guess I had better.
(I need to log exactly what happens with thie "configure" jumper; it is a bit odd and at variance with what I am told is supposed to happen. More as I learn more.)
May 8, 1999
Now to clean up after the column. This place is a MESS even for Chaos Manor...
Darnell was over. We are changing to a server that will run the Front Page Extensions. I am Guest of Honor at a convention in Orlando this week so I probably will not make the change today, let it wait a week, but we are nearly there.
Assuming we haven't provoked the Chinese into a war by then.
Roberta wants to revise her web page ( http://www.readingtlc.com ) and we used a program that seems unlikely to exist now to design it. I think I'll install Symantec Visual Page on her system. It ought to be easier to use than Front Page. I hope.
Over in mail are two valuable Windows FAQ site links. I followed one to find out how to get rid of that stupid warning in Windows 98 whenever you access your Windows folder. Actually it doesn't bother me as much as most because I tend to use Windows Commander (the upgrade of Norton DOS Commander) to do most file manipulation, and that doesn't ever see the silly warning. But anyway, the method is to rename or delete in the Windows folder the file folder.htt. You could hack this file but it seems pointless: renaming it doesn't seem to change anything noticeable other than getting rid of that silly warning.
First, Milosovec will appear to capitulate: he'll agree to withdraw all military forces from Kosovo, and to allow all genuine Kosovo refugees to return to their homes. A UN (not NATO) peacekeeping force, with some NATO members but mostly the usual UN mercenaries who find wearing a blue helmet better pay than being in the Scandinavian or Irish national armies (and even more so for some of the fourth world nations who contribute). There will be Russians, and the commander will be someone "neutral". With that agreement the bombing stops.
Serbia will leave police behind in Kosovo, to keep order and protect Serbs, and part of the agreement will be that the KLA will have no status whatever.
There being no infrastructure left, it will take a while to start moving refugees back. Order has to be restored. Fires put out. Sanitation facilities repaired. Bridges and roads destroyed by the bombing must be repaired. Water distribution restored. Foodstocks built up since there wn't be any crops.
Then the refugees have to be identified and classified, and genuine refugees separated from interlopers, and property owners establish their claims to their property; even if done with all good will and good faith this is going to take a LONG time, and most of those moved out won't be back.
By then months will have gone by and the world will have lost interest. When it is discovered that some of the Serbian 'police' are military, and it's taking forever to "process" the returning refugees, and there's little to eat and little infrastructure built, the bombing won't start again. The ethnic balance of Kosovo will have changed, Clinton will have something he can declare as a victory, those in the US who want to feel good about meddling can do so, the allies who are getting wearier and wearier of the war can get out, and NATO will be seen to be more than a paper tiger if not a full fledged Siberian tiger.
And perhaps the US can buy some more missiles and smart bombs because at the moment we haven't enough to fight another half a war anywhere. If China takes this opportunity to invade Taiwan, there's not one whole heck of a lot we can do without resorting to nukes; we fired off our best weapons defending our vital interests in the Balkans, and we don't have any more, and there aren't any in the pipeline. The Navy is down to about a hundred non-nuclear smart weapons. USAF hasn't that many.
With luck we will climb out of this without a full disaster, but the potential for a disaster is still there, and there is no upside. There's no way we can "win", since anything that leaves the Albanians more powerful than the above scenario risks a real expansion of the war as the KLA tries to build a Marxist Greater Albania carved out of Kosovo, Montenegro, The Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, and Greece itself. That would be a larger war.
With luck and God's grace we can crawl out of this mess with some shards of national reputation and shreds of honor. If there's anything better we can get out of this, I don't know what it is, because I don't know what "Victory" is in this situation. Enthronement of the KLA certainly is NOT a victory for us.
Bismark said that God looks after fools, drunks, and the United States of America. Let us hope he was right.
May 9, 1999 Happy Mother's Day
I'm going to try Chinese snake oil for this sinus/sore throat thing. It says it is "prepared with fresh snake biles" and some other stuff I don't even want to contemplate, and you take it with warm boiled water. If this sounds like an act of desperation you're probably right. After weeks of this nonsense I'll try snake oil. Antibiotics don't seem to be doing it.