THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View: August 9 - 14, 1999
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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. (Older columns here.) For more on what this place is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE.
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See also the New Order page, which tries to make order of chaos. These will be useful.
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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:
August 9, 1999
SIGGRAPH conferences today but the floor show doesn't open until tomorrow. Alex and Eric and some of the other troops will be down there today. I have to be down at LA Convention Center at 0800 tomorrow for the press preview run. Ugh. That means getting up at Oh-Dawn-Hundred. At least the Explorer will be fixed, or so the USAA people tell me. Within hours someone is supposed to appear and fix my window. Here. At only about $4 less than my deductible. Joy. But at least USAA did all the arrangements even if I end up paying. That's one great insurance company.
It is fixed. There is a small dent at the top of the window where this person pried open the window. And I have these four telephone numbers he called, and I keep having uncharitable thoughts. I suppose I should take this as a lesson. After all, the whole thing cost me time and $250 (actually $246), and I got the topic for an article and learned a lot I hadn't known. The dent irritates me but you have to look for it to find it. I suppose I should count my blessings.
I need to catch up on mail.
If you don't have Startup Manager (it's in here somewhere on how to get it) do so. It is wonderful. Just saved me another problem. Get Startup Manager.
And tomorrow at blooming dawn I am at SIGGRAPH...
|This week:||Tuesday, August
SIGGRAPH this morning.
SIGGRAPH was interesting, more to Alex and David than me perhaps, but it is astonishing what can be done with graphics now, and how cheaply. I think I'll write about that for Intellectual Capital. And it's Hollywood Bowl night...
August 11, 1999
Roberta is off to the beach house. I have stuff to clean up and some residual SIGGRAPH things to do. Hollywood Bowl last night: the Russian Symphony Orchestra. Played the Star Spangled Banner, then the Russian Federation national anthem. Emotional moment for me: I was a Cold Warrior most of my life, and I can make a little claim to having helped bring about a situation in which we stand to each other's national anthems instead of huddle in missile silos waiting for that damned klaxon.
EWO. EWO. Emergency War Orders. I have a message in five parts. Tango X-Ray ... Dramatic for a novel, but I'm glad it's not likely anyone will hear that for real.
I have a picture which I'll try to get up later today.
I am still cleaning up broken links. The picture links to the dragon convention pictures of Niven, Bradbury and Harlan Ellison were still a mess, because somehow I managed to save some files with spaces in their names, and FrontPage 98 has no problems dealing with that, nor did the NT server this site used to be on. UNIX of course does have problems with spaces in file name...
Anyway I think I got that fixed and it will be OK with the same upload as this.
Allen Downard, your nice letter of March 3 has surfaced. I can't find you in my records, and Compuserve returns mail to the address you gave as undeliverable. Please send me your proper email address. Thanks.
August 12, 1999
I gather there is a hate site devoted to parodying this one. I am resisting the temptation to go look, and I see no point in drawing a crowd for this chap who seems to have nothing better to do. If he's at all competent maybe I could hire him to do something useful that I don't have time for. On the other hand, competent people usually have useful thing to do on their own.
Roberta is down at the beach house taunting me because I am still up here cleaning up stuff. Fair warning: when I get the book proposal (Burning Tower, Book Two of The Golden Road, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Simon and Schuster, Spring, 2000; actually, Spring 2000 is the publication date of The Burning City, Book One of The Golden Road; god knows when we'll finish Book Two, but part of writing it will be done in Acapulco, Yucatan, Coban, Belize, and points South; it deals with pre-PreColumbian Mezo-America, 14,000 years ago just after Atlantis sank) outline down, bash out some work on the book Thompson and I are doing, pay the bills, get to the Vitamin store, and do the Techweb broadcast for the week I am out of here, and I am not taking a computer. There are several books I want to read, and some notes I want to make about fiction, and not having a modem is just too tempting. With luck I am out of here tonight, but we'll see.
She also tells me that downstairs on our phone machine there is a message telling me where I can go pick up my replacement cell phone. I keep forgetting to look at the phone messages, so she does, then calls me to tell me about them when she's not here. Partnership...
They are charging Buford with "Hate Crimes." Shooting children is not enough of a crime? The man is a murderer. We don't need Washington, the County Sheriff has plenty of jurisdiction. Turn him off and get it over with.
I have a new Olympus C-2000 Zoom Camera. Not as nice a form factor for carrying in the pocket as the D-400Z I like, but this does have 2.1 Megapixels. It has a conventional lens cover, and looks more like a camera than the D-400Z. I love that Z, though. The following were taken with the D-400Z Olympus camera.
Play, Inc. has brought the cost of professional quality video editing down to something you and I can afford. I took these shots at SIGGRAPH. The first one shows Kiki, who has to be tied with Gary Seltzer as the most dynamic high-tech show presentation artist in the business, doing her thing promoting Play's Trinity box. I include it because the second picture, which is the important one, is so blurred. It was done hand held in available light as she was moving.
The point of the picture is that she is against a blue screen. Now, I know, that doesn't look blue. It's not perfectly flat, and the light levels haven't been adjusted, and that's the NEWS. Play with BBC has a new cloth and camera lighting system that allows you to use an ordinary Sony $2000 camera and this cloth to do broadcasts from your walk-in closet with the Bay or New York City in the background. Live in the background if you have a camera aimed at your background and a Play mixing box.
Here it is again, this time a blue background room. This looks just as good as the two hundred kilobuck blue screen systems your local TV station has set up, but it will cost you well under 20 grand for everything: Cloth, two cameras (one for you, one to provide dynamic background), mixing box, lighting system. Broadcast quality effects and mixing and blue room will just about total $20,000.
And INTERGRAPH (which doesn't have as photogenic a presenter as Play, alas) is announcing new mixing and editing technology built into their new systems that does even more at much the same cost. The Play Blue Room system with one sheet of the cloth is $1,000 for which you get the lighting system for one camera and the software.
And next an historic picture. Or I think so.
It's blurred. It was available light as I stood in the Hollywood Bowl listening to the Russian Symphony Orchestra play the Russian Federation National Anthem, having just played the Star Spangled Banner. As I listened I thought about what I used to worry about hearing. "EWO. EWO. Emergency War Orders. I have a message in five parts. Tango. X-Ray. Alfa. ..." It is a much better world when you don't expect that kind of message.
I have put up an FPRI Report on the Chinese crackdown on Falun Gong.
August 13, 1999
I continue to be appalled at the reaction to the shootings here in LA. It's not enough that this man shoots children, we have to try to think of something worse? Or worry about WHY he did it? What do we care why? It was an evil deed, it is clearly felony murder under any rational law you ever heard of, and whether his motive was "hate" (whatever that is, legally) or "love" or "political" is relevant only if he was part of an active conspiracy, and there's zero evidence of that. Yes, he seems part of a miniscule group of American Nazi's. It's a tiny outfit to being with, and it has no money. It is not allied with or financed by a foreign power.
That latter is important because the justification for suppression of the Nazi-American Bund, Black Dragon Society, American Fascist League, and the Communist Party of the United States of America were that they were in fact agents of hostile foreign powers. You will note that in the case of the CPUSA, which had the largest membership and best foreign financing of any of those, there was a great controversy over just how far we could go to suppress it and jail its leaders. Rightly so. We curtail our liberties at peril. Prosecuting Thoughtcrime is a dangerous thing to try.
So then, and so now. A man who clearly knows right from wrong chose wrong, wantonly murdered a Postman, and shot a number of children. His motives are less important than his actions. Making this a "hate crime" reverses that, making the thoughtcrime more evil than shooting children. And that is truly insane.
Today I go to the bank, run a few errands, and go read a book. See you Monday. I'm turning this computer off after this goes up. We finished the final on The Burning City, Book One of The Golden Road, and the outline/proposal of Burning Tower, Book Two of The Golden Road. I have some maps to do, but mostly I intend to relax...
I am on vacation reading books. (Alas I also have to work on some maps.)
I'm reading Keegan on World War I. Back tomorrow.