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THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR

View 276 September 22 - 28, 2003

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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 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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Monday  September 22, 2003

Lots of mail today and over weekend.

Adelphia Watch: DOS attacks I think. Adelphia Cable Modem will sometimes slow to a complete crawl, down to a few hundred bits/second. Things get through; but v  e  r  y  slowly. Lights blink furiously. I was concerned that this was something from my end so I ran Norton AV and AdAware and Spybot Search and Destroy on all my systems. It's not my outgoing traffic. And see below.

We do get a LOT of those fake Microsoft patches with the infections. This is a terribly dangerous infection. I will have a short report on what it does later, but BEWARE it is very insidious. It disables REGEDIT to begin with.

I have got over a hundred of these over the weekend. It is VERY dangerous. Let me say again:

MICROSOFT WILL NEVER SEND YOU A PATCH AS AN EMAIL ATTACHMENT.

MICROSOFT WILL NEVER SEND YOU A PATCH AS AN EMAIL ATTACHMENT.

MICROSOFT WILL NEVER SEND YOU A PATCH AS AN EMAIL ATTACHMENT.

What I tell you three times is true. Hear and believe.

It is called:

Jerry, FYI, this is the "Swen" virus:

http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter
/venc/data/w32.swen.a@mm.html
 

I've gotten 1/2 a dozen of them today as well.

Pete Flugstad

And I got over a hundred today.

 


Dark Age of Camelot watch: the server quits periodically. This can happen during one of the DOS attacks on Adelphia, but it can also happen when Adelphia is working fine.

They tore my house down although the rent had been paid weeks in advance. I am irked.


Adelphia Watch: tonight the cable modem is working fine but there are not premium channels. "This channel should be available in a minute" for an hour...  It was fine and suddenly it wasn't. This lasted a while. Then the premium channels came back on, but they quit a couple more times. All is back now.

 

If your local politicians are planning on giving someone a monopoly in your area, try to convince them to look at alternatives to Adelphia...

And see mail

 

 

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Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Feeling safer already: A 20 year old girl has been sentenced to 2 years in Federal Prison. Her family had taken her on a cruise. She was pregnant, and wanted to be with her boyfriend. She wrote some threatening notes in hopes of getting the cruise cancelled so she could go home.

Not smart. So we are all now safer: she's going to Federal prison for two years. That ought to make a better citizen of her and keep us all safer from those Iraqi terrorists.

It will cost about $200,000 to keep her in prison. Query: if she had been sentenced to a year of house arrest, and the money paid to the cruise line, would we be less safe? But of course the prison guards need prisoners or they can't be paid.

And we are all so much safer how. Hurrah for the Federal security people. They can all be proud of themselves.


It's pretty pointless to try to do anything that requires Internet connections on a continuous basis what with the DOS attacks interrupting service. On-line games get blown off periodically. Intermittent things work. Continuous doesn't.

We need the Godfather Corporation to deal with spammers. Normal government either can't or won't. They're too busy jailing silly girls who write notes and confess when confronted to bother with spammers and virus writers.

Meanwhile, Adelphia is intermittent and has been all afternoon. Just now I have no connection at all. That will I presume change. Ten minutes ago I had about 2400 bps connection.  Whee.


Journalism and Iraq: A Certainly Biased Story.

I have no way of knowing if all or any of this is true:

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international
/story/0,6903,1037081,00.html
 

For while the media are encouraged to count each US death, the Iraqi civilians who have died at American hands since the fall of Saddam's regime have been as uncounted as their names have been unacknowledged.

The death of two innocent Iraqis was thought so unremarkable the US military did not even report it, but Peter Beaumont says it reflects an increasingly callous disregard of civilian lives in coalition operations

Sunday September 7, 2003

The Observer

Peter Beaumont

Farah Fadhil was only 18 when she was killed. An American soldier threw a grenade through the window of her apartment. Her death, early last Monday, was slow and agonising. Her legs had been shredded, her hands burnt and punctured by splinters of metal, suggesting that the bright high-school student had covered her face to shield it from the explosion.

She had been walking to the window to try to calm an escalating situation; to use her smattering of English to plead with the soldiers who were spraying her apartment building with bullets. But then a grenade was thrown and Farah died. So did Marwan Hassan who, according to neighbours, was caught in the crossfire as he went looking for his brother when the shooting began.

What is perhaps most shocking about their deaths is that the coalition troops who killed them did not even bother to record details of the raid with the coalition military press office. The killings were that unremarkable.

<snip>

I know the bias of the newspaper, and the writer's views are easily inferred from his choices of words; but the question remains, is it true? The account is substantial and names many people including some Red Cross officials. Do those people exist? Is this whole cloth or substantially true?

The chilling thought is that it could be true. Combat troops are not police, and do not conduct raids to minimize civilian casualties. Grenading rooms before you enter is pretty standard practice: certainly I was taught that in basic training a long time ago.

The article is long, and if it is true, then does it matter if the source is biassed? And for that matter, how many "good stories" does it take to make up for something like this? If this is part of progress, and the price of progress, perhaps we should be very afraid; because I suspect that a free election held in that neighborhood just now would not produce results very favorable to the United States.


Adelphia has been off since about 5 PM. I have connected the satellite system up. With luck Adelphia will be back tomorrow. It's certainly dead today.

Meanwhile, so is my web site. I cannot ftp to it or see it. And mail to jerryp@jerrrypournelle.com is not getting through. So all told things are not good on the net, and in fact this is history since if you can see this something must have been fixed..

 

 

 

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Wednesday, September 24, 2003

When I went to bed last night Adelphia was dead, and while I could connect through the satellite system to send and receive Earthlink mail, WinProxy, the egregious program that purports to run on the computer that acts as a router for the satellite, refuses to have anything to do with jerrypournelle.com probably because the domain name here contains that as part of its name. Winproxy can't figure that out. Worse, sometimes it can. Other times it can't. It won't tell me when it will and when it won't.

This morning Adelphia was still out. Then about an hour ago it came back up and everything works fine again.

I am going to take the opportunity to set up dialup connection with the NetWinder as a standby in case this happens again. And in January we will be able to get real DSL. Cable modem is great when it works, but it don't work all the time.

Opera tonight. We usually go to opening but Roberta had trip planned opening night for first two of season.


DAOC is pretty buggy, and dumps you out even if there is nothing wrong with the cable. If there is a reliable way to connect to it I don't know. I think they randomly choose some players to dump just to keep the traffic down. I have no real evidence of this, but the cable modem is working fine, nothing here is overloaded, and off I go.


In digging about on other matters I came across

http://www.conservative.org/
pressroom/revitalizingconservatism.asp
 

which says some interesting things. I was always a Cold Warrior rather than a political ideologue, and while I think government does some things well, I mostly believe in "the invisible foot" that kicks in and mucks up most government projects; limited government is best, and consent of the governed is the only really rational justification for government.

Anyway, that article says some things I agree with, others that I don't, but it's worth reading.

 

 

 

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Thursday, September 25, 2003

Earthlink and Outlook: yesterday and today on two different machines we had very odd problems: Outlook would let us send mail through the Earthlink.net accounts (mine and Roberta's) but it would not receive mail. In my case the problem seemed to solve itself. More interestingly, I could download her mail to my machine, but she would get server connection errors.

I reset her machine and using her machine went to the Earthlink webmail page and deleted some obvious spam messages. When I restarted Outlook on her machine it downloaded all the rest.  Whether this was coincidental or had anything to do with anything I did I do not know. Prior to this she could SEND mail through Earthlink (meaning that the login had to be right) but she could never connect to the server to receive mail. Then it began to work.

While we were at webmail on her account I looked at the spam folder: it had intercepted 936 obvious spam messages. There were still plenty more getting through, but in a week she didn't see 1,000 of the horrible things, so I have to say Earthlink is getting much much better at intercepting the stuff.  Hurrah.

Incidentally, the first time you log on to webmail at Earthlink it takes forever, so long that you think it isn't going to work, and pretty clearly their webmail server is badly overloaded; but it does work. I think their regular mail servers are overloaded too. Perhaps they will add new ones to reduce the loads.


Meanwhile, the problem is not my cable service that makes Dark Age of Camelot unplayable. The interruptions are almost hourly now, and the cable modem connection is working fine when they happen. Just suddenly DAOC stops responding.  Probably server overloads. And it is very annoying to be winning a battle with a monster and have them dump you off, then keep your uncommunicative player around until he is killed. The least they can do if they can't sustain the connection is take you out of the game so you aren't dead when you come back.

Yes, I know: some players would use this to cheat. So?


A page of leadership quotes.


It is suggested that this place needs revising, in that what's "new" ought to be at the top, so everything is in reverse order.

I find that confusing and it's one reason I stay away from "blogs". I try to tie things together with bookmarks, but I write things in a certain order, and people respond to mail, and putting the responses before the original material seems unnatural to me.

Is this place really so confusing as all that? We have the menu of days across the top of the page, and those ought to jump you to the right day for the 'latest'...

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And here we go again!

Subject: Do not call list blocked again

Itís going to be interesting watching this one play outÖ

http://www.msnbc.com/news/971734.asp?0cv=CA01

Tracy Walters

Ye Flipping Gods! The arrogance of these people!

Did they get to the judge? Does he retain a partnership in a law firm that will benefit from all this lawyering? How it is a "free speech right" for you to telephone me after I have said I do not want you to call me is a bit beyond me.

The First Amendment originally applied to pamphlets, which were the usual means of promulgating opinions in colonial times; as well as to newspapers. The right to mail a pamphlet may well be something protected; but I do not believe the Framers intended that you could stand outside my doorway and shout into my living room after I told you to go away!

And that is the best analogy for telephone calls.

And of course if unwanted telephone calls are protected, then so is spam.

Perhaps it is all just as well: with the vast majority of the population hating Direct Mail and Telephone Solicitors and spam, let them have their legal protections, and we will soon see the power of Jury Nullification as people begin to protect their privacy...

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Friday, September 26, 2003

I have a tonne of mail saying "Don't change the site. It ain't broke, don't fix it." I'll post some of it after our walk this morning. Specifically, that keeping things in chronological order with links is better than the "standard blog" of latest first. 

There's also mail on spam and the telemarketers, more on Iraq, and such. I'll get some of that up after breakfast and before I start in on the day's work. Thanks to all those who say the place ain't broke. Thanks also to those who cared enough to make suggestions about improving it. 

I don't intend a makeover. If there are simple things I can do to make this easier to use, I'll adopt those.

It's good to know people care. More later.


Does anyone know how to insert a time stamp in Front Page? Insert date and time puts in a thing that tells when the page was last edited, which doesn't do a bit of good; I want, without having to type it in, a way to insert the date and time -- actually just the time -- that I wrote something, and have it stay that way. As usual, Microsoft Help is useless.

This is such a needed function that I am astonished it's not readily available but I can't figure out how to do it.

12:04 PM Bob Thompson suggests a procedure I should have figured out: insert time using the auto feature; cut; past special, which prevents it from updating. That seems to have worked. Anyone have a less complicated way? Perhaps I can make a macro to do that. If FP 2000 lets me record macros. 

http://www.caddigest.com/subjects/space_shuttle/ Has a pretty good list of articles about the Shuttle.

 

 

On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding: "Product will be hot after heating."

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Saturday, September 27, 2003

11:43 AM Fooling around with compatibilities. Ran into this problem: with Windows XP I can install the old CHAOS OVERLORDS game, and it will attempt to run, but then it asks for the CD. The CD is not only in there, it is how we started the game; and it is at D: where most games expect the CD to be. It installed from that drive.

Looking into the registry for the game I find nothing other than a default path that looks to C:\Program Files\ Chaos Overlords which is indeed where it is installed. There's nothing like a configuration file. Looking at all the files with a hex editor I find nothing that obviously refers to the default disk drive other than the default path above. Has anyone got this thing to run under Windows XP? It's not important except as a frustration I'd as soon remove.

I'll edit the default path to D: next to see if that does anything but I suspect it will not.  -- And it doesn't, that's where it is looking for the game. There is an empty key above that one that might be a disk drive path but I have no idea what registry name they might have given that. If anyone has that game running on XP I'd appreciate knowing what trick was used to get it to work. 

WHILE we are at it, is there any way to change the default on Front Page date and time properties so that it doesn't revert to something I don't want?

 01:27 PM In fact because it reverts to defaults I then have to change, this is just too difficult. It would be easier simply to type in the time.

I have done a brief comment on TSA and airline safety over in mail.

================

On Andalusia and history:

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/27/arts/27SPAI.html 

Worth attention.

 

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Sunday, September 28, 2003

12:47 PM Adelphia watch: again I say, if you can get cable modem, it is probably worth it, but if your City Council or other political masters are contemplating giving Adelphia a monopoly, urge them to take someone else's campaign contributions instead. Adelphia is out just now, so by the time you see this again it will be back up; but it is not reliable. 

It went out from about 2 AM until 3:30 last night. It went out today at about Noon, and it's not up yet. The modem light blinks rapidly, so it's almost up, but not sufficient to work. I'll call them tomorrow. I don't expect anything to come of that.

1305: It's back up again. I did nothing to "fix" it.

13:35  Adelphia is all right, but Dark Age of Camelot is not. About evey 20 minutes the server drops us. I suspect it is "rolling blackouts." This happens with popular games. If they don't put some more resources in their more popular servers they are going to lose customers. Of course their hope is that people will pay but not log on. But this time it definitely was NOT Adelphia, which was working fine both times I was unceremoniously dumped out on DAOC.

About every ten minutes. This is unplayable. Do others have this experience? Is this somehow an interaction with Adelphia? The cable seems to be working just fine. But periodically I am merely dumped out of the game.

14:30  And in fact it is unplayable. Being left linkdead in a dungeon at periodic intervals is a sure way to lose all enjoyment from any game. 

14:47 And again. It's a dark age in Camelot that is for sure.

13:06  I'd give up playing this silly game except that I want to see just how bad it is on a Sunday afternoon, and also a character is very close to level and I want to make that happen. But fifteen minute doses is not immersion.

13:21 And again.  I managed the level but of course I was then headed out on horseback when it dumped me so I will find I have to run for half an hour to get anywhere. Wonderful. 

Adelphia is working fine. Dark Age of Camelot, however..

15:37 one more time. Why not?

15:48 and I am done. 

====================

0230 AM:  Dark Age of Camelot never stayed connected more than about 20 minutes; I had other things to do, but I left one machine connected just to see. Then as a test I put up Earth and Beyond. That stayed connected for well over an hour before I gave up.

I think it's pretty clear that DAOC has server problems.

Adelphia was working all day with no interruptions at all. 

Whether this is an interaction of DAOC and Adelphia I don't know; I do know that DAOC is unplayable at the moment.

 

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