THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 253 April 14 - 20, 2003
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 page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here.
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April 14, 2003
It's tax time. There was stuff over the weekend, particularly in mail.
The new education:
So, like, yo dudes, listen up: hip-hop is da bomb, fool, da real dope. Forget all that wack stuff laid down by tragic MCs like T.S. Eliot, the Bronte sisters and that Shakespeare snowflake. Check it: if a US education trend spreads to Australia - and it probably will - the nation's school kids could soon be getting down to the likes of Tupac Shakur, Ice-T, Eminem and Cypress Hill.
Well, I have depended on TurboTax for years. Maybe I won't again. It wants updating and that isn't possible, because they want you to download HUGE files. Might as well not have bothered with the CD.
I'll go buy some other tax program tonight. This this is stuck on file 22 of 39, and it seems determined never to finish the update. The time to go varies -- on the same file -- from 1 minute to 34 minutes and this after about 20 minutes of trying already, and three retries. Now it says 0 seconds. Maybe it is not updating the "22 of 39"?
Apparently that was it. It did manage to finish updating but the reporting was goofy.
It is also stuck to one computer and one only for printing. Hmm.
|This week:||Tuesday, April
The Ides of Taxation
Well, I am about done with taxes. I didn't make so much money last year, so I overpaid on my quarterlies. At least I won't be writing checks to the gummint.
A number of you have agreed that it is time to end dependence on TurboTax. I began with Macintax, and in one review said it was worth owning a Mac if you never used it for anything but that one program. Then Macintax was acquired by TurboTax, then Intuit bought that, and improved it. It all worked pretty well. Then Intuit decided it didn't have any competition and was getting pirated, and it was time to DO SOMETHING. They sure did. More in the column.
But at least I'll be done on time.
More on other matters, and mail, when I get a chance. And a number of you have requested puppy pictures. I've got some and I'll take a few more on our walk this morning. Of course Sable no longer looks like a puppy. She acts like one -- 6 months is pretty young -- but she's fairly big, and is beginning to realize that she's a 3/4 grown wolf... Pictures when I am through sweating blood for the government.
Time to clean up. I'll get some puppy pictures up later, today I hope. And I need to work on fiction. It's sunny in Los Angeles.
April 17, 2003
Still cleaning up. Niven was over, and we did some heavy duty planning on Burning Tower. I'll be back on duty here shortly, meanwhile there was a lot of good mail yesterday and more today.
Subject: More on Windows vulnerability (priority one)
I will be out in the Mojave Desert most of tomorrow.
April 18, 2003
The Friday of the Crucifixion, commonly called Good Friday
Subject: A truly fascinating set of links
including XCOR of course :-)
which will give you some idea of what I am about.
And here's the story:
Subject: Coverage of SpaceShipOne
with pretty good pictures. I know most of the people involved, and I got a pretty good story on the flight simulator that will go in the column. My pictures are a bit different from MSNBC's but theirs are quite good, and they have more time to write things up. I've known about this for some time, but it was one of those stories that wasn't mine to tell.
They had a pretty good turnout for the show and they rolled out their space ship, which will be carried to altitude by the big White Knight . Burt Rutan and Congressman Thomas got their photographs taken in front of the ship. The ground handling equipment of the "orbiter" (this one can't get to anything like orbit, but it will get high enough to win the X Prize) is certainly operationally simple enough. And nothing happens out in Mojave without the participation of the current Miss Mojave, who this year is Shanda Lasey. A previous Miss Mojave is at USC studying physics.
You might also look at
I believe the BBC is talking about your jaunt to the desert:
--- A random thought for the day:
Succeed in spite of management.
After the Spaceship One and White Knight rollout and the White Knight flight demonstration (it hasn't yet flown with Spaceship One attached, so it has PLENTY of power to do startling maneuvers) I went over to XCOR where they were just moving today.
My son Richard helped me get into their rocket plane which was a close fit. Their chief test pilot is Dick Rutan, Burt's brother, and the pilot of the first single stage to orbit ship, Voyager, which flew rather low and slow but did circumnavigate the globe on one tank of fuel...
I suppose I ought to flatten out those pictures so they won't take so long to download, but not tonight.
My favorite thought for the day: Rutan said this was an extension of the old X-15 program which was abandoned before it could mature, but Rutan's Scaled Composites had to build their own B-52 (White Knight) to drop their spaceship from. But Spaceship One will fly as high as X-15...
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