THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 287 December 8 - 14, 2003
THIS is the CURRENT View.
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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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December 8, 2003
The annual Orchids and Onions Parade is now open for nominations. See last week's instructions.
I see Newt Gingrich is saying that we ought to give the local Iraqis more authority. Considering that we have arrested without charges most of the Sunni leaders elected to their city council, and hold them without informing them of the charges against them, or who has accused them (the local Chief of Police is a holdover from Saddam installed by the US forces; wonder of wonders; could one of the Baathists have denounced people they used to jail without charges and torture? Aw, never!) -- considering that we treat the Iraqis like subjects, and jail anyone who tries to govern, perhaps Newt is on to something there.
I'll have another essay on Iraq shortly but my prescription continues to stand:
1. Local governments with real authority and a share of any oil revenue, and some financing.
2. National authority including allocation of oil revenues reserved for the US occupation force (else the locals will fight over the revenue).
3. Pay the former Iraqi army (purged of known Baathist enthusiasts) but dock their pay in any district in which there is an attack on US forces.
4. Get courts working so final determination of who owns what can be made, signed, sealed, and delivered. An Act of Settlement that restores rule of law; in this case law is more important than "justice". The Act can provide for compensation for those who can show the Settlement was unfair but the compensation comes from national revenue, not from those who benefited by the settlement. It is important the RULE OF LAW be established and quickly at all local levels.
I'm going for a walk. We'll look at editing my newest book using the Mac and Office for the Mac later.
December 9, 2003
It's after noon and I am stuck at this keyboard. I have managed to enroll all the new subscribers and all the renewals, and thanks to all those who pay for this place. I will be sending a mailing fairly soon.
What started as a few words in an aside has turned into a small discussion of DDT and "regulatory" vs. real science. I doubt my own views will make anyone happy. So it goes. We don't have any mechanism for settling scientific disputes and thus it's all left to lawyers and courts. The lawyers try to get juries who know nothing and can prove it so that they try cases in which liability turns on scientific fact by parading pathos and talking about deep pockets. Why shouldn't Dow Corning pay even if, as it turns out, silicone breast implants aren't any more dangerous than any other kind? Here is the victim, you see, and here is this big company with lots of money, you see.
It gets a bit stranger when the breast implants were done purely for cosmetic reasons having nothing to do with restoration following needed surgery. But then the modern legal principle is that all citizens are gullible dupes and have no responsibility for their actions. And given that view, perhaps we ought to be an Empire with our betters protecting us. The Enlightened can decide for us ever so much better than we benighted can decide.
But we were born free.
By coincidence the first letter from subscribers I looked at after writing the above was from Paul Walker:
Whatever happened to people being responsible for their own lives? You fall down, you get up. Simple.
To which I can only say, indeed.
Never mind, I found how to make address books from Contacts folders. It would be nice if Microsoft HELP for Outlook told me, but why should I expect that? It NEVER helps.
I have managed to send a mailing to subscribers. It's not terribly important, but if you think you have subscribed and you didn't get it, you mailbox may be full; you may have given me a wrong address; the Internet is fouled up; or I made a mistake in enrolling things. Whatever the case tell me when and HOW you subscribed and if you can possibly remember it the address under which you subscribed; and the address you want the subscription in if that's different from the original. I really like it when it's clear which is the old address and which is the new.
The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
(Think I am going to tell you
Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test
On False Memories
I have long known, and sometimes demonstrated, that it is possible to implant genuine memories in people, of events that not only never happened, but never could have happened.
Therapists have done this regularly in developing cases against child molesters, to the point where it is clear that at least some of those cases are based on malice and the lawyers: a child in a custody suit will suddenly remember being molested by one parent. That happened to a prominent L A politician many years ago, and while he was never prosecuted, the scandal finished him off as a political candidate: all that over false memories. How much of this is deliberate and how much happens inadvertently isn't always clear, but therapists are generally trained to "believe the child" and also that "where there's smoke there's fire." Only sometimes there is neither smoke nor fire nor a dragon.
The MacMartin case here was worse, with GROUPS of children remembering graves being opened, and horses killed and buried on the school grounds, to the point where archeologists were called in to dig up the old school playground. They found a turtle shell. As the defense lawyer (who ended up owning the school and everything the family accused had ever owned) said, "when they find a dead horse let me know." Yet the children "remembered" the incidents with the dead horses as vividly as they remembered being sexually assaulted.
The original accusation was made by a women the police knew to be a bit dotty -- she had made plenty of accusations of all kinds in the past -- but then a child therapist was brought in. She found all kinds of memories in children who previously hadn't had any complaints about the school, and hadn't reported any incidents to their parents. Her boyfriend was a local TV off-prime-time anchor who found a big story. People were jailed, the school was destroyed, people's lives were ruined -- over "memories" that just couldn't be. (Forest Lawn would know if some priests took school children there and exhumed a body; or you'd think so, wouldn't you? But it was taken to the Grand Jury even so.)
There are dozens of other cases of implanted memories. You can probably implant them in yourself; it's certainly easy enough to do with your children. Tell them about "the time when you are about 5 and got lost in the Mall, and the mall cop found you and gave you an ice cream cone" and in a few hours you will know the flavor of the cone and the color of the uniform and whether the mall cop carried a weapon.
And you can convince trauma victims of chilling flashback memories -- that never happened.
The implications for the law ought to be clear.
Elizabeth Loftus has done extensive studies of this, see her books on repressed memories, e.g.
The Myth of Repressed Memory
Appointments and other business today.
Disturbing news of acts by US authorities that, if true -- and I have no way of knowing -- can only be described as imperial tyranny of a particularly arrogant variety. A Canadian employed in the US deported to Syria, a place he had not been for 20 years, without any charges being filed or ever being told why, in this morning's LA Times. The story is improbable but one assumes there must be something behind it. If it is true we have US agents acting like the KGB or Gestapo for no discernible reason.
Democratic empires can be arrogant and faithless. Athens' behavior toward Platea is a case in point. Large police bureaucracies tend to act in the same ways no matter what the sponsoring government may be like at the top. Eternal vigilance has always been the price of liberty.
Free Speech Areas when the President visits an American city? People herded away so the President can avoid seeing protest signs he doesn't like? Is this the new crime of maiestas?
Ave. Ave Imperator.
Perhaps I am just upset, perhaps I am a victim of biased news, perhaps anything: but I do not want to hear that the United States of America is keeping people who have not been informed of the charges against them and who have no prospect of ever being released. Prisoner of War camps to intern hostiles, conditions like Stalag 17: those are not pleasant but they are acceptable. Charging people with war crimes is acceptable. Shooting them out of hand for being on a battlefield in arms without uniforms: that is harsh, but acceptable. Imprisoning them in a base under US control and saying they are beyond the reach of the courts because the base is technically under the sovereignty of a foreign government : that is the kind of legal quibbling this nation can do without.
If this is the price of a New World Order, perhaps we ought to reconsider the costs and gains.
Particularly when the real danger is Saudi Wahabbi agents in the heart of East Europe.
Who rules to the East commands the heartland. Who rules the heartland commands the world island. Who rules the world island commands the world. Out-dated, and Mackinder probably knew it when he said it; after all the USSR ruled East Europe and the heartland, and couldn't command the world. But one does not lightly let those who hate the West operate freely in the Balkans -- and that is what is happening, and the Wahabbi agents are protected by US and European soldiers.
What is going one here? Canadians resident legally in the US deported to Syria while US troops defend Wahabbi agents in Kossovo? This is not merely empire it is incompetent empire.
Or am I merely dyspeptic and raving this morning? (See mail)
Home after a lot of adventures. More work tomorrow.
I know how to connect the Mac to the Windows Network. Sort of:
Browse to the Windows machine through the Network. That may work. You doubleclick on the Machine name in the ChaosManor folder, and LO! it asks for user name and password, and then you see all the shared resources of that system. This is just great.
However it may fail, and connect you to a sort of pseudo connection that is useless. No shared resources on the Windows machine will be visible. Nothing you can do will cause the Mac to show you any. If it does that, there is no way to get out of it. You will be stuck with that crippled connection forever, and that is the connection you will get if you browse to it through the NETWORK icon.
However, you can now go to a Windows machine on the Network or to the machine you are trying to connect to. You then get the name of the shared resource on that machine. Write it down, along with the machine name. Make sure to have them right.
Now go to the Mac. Do command-k. Type in smb://machinename/resourcename and hit the connect icon. It will ask for user name and password. Give those. It will then connect you and create an icon of the connection on the desktop. Understand, this connection has NOTHING WHATEVER TO DO with the useless connection you have made through the NETWORK icon and browsing. On the other hand, the new connection will work fine, you just can't get to it through the Network icon.
If there is any logical reason for this, I don't know it. And I have wasted 2 hours learning this much, and I am weary of it. I am also tired of being stupid.
The Mac is a great laptop. I used it to edit my book while out at the medical center, and it was easy to use, and the screen was bright, and it had enough power to last. I liked used it.
However, it requires brighter people than I am to make it work in a Windows network. A Mac user can manage (given permissions and passwords) to connect to a Windows network and transfer files, as long as he knows how to do it - it may be very simple, but it may require the command-K SMB trick.
Roland says the problem is with Windows. Dan says he has had similar problems since he changed to Panther: if a connection goes away improperly it's difficult to impossible to reconnect it.
WOW! Great Jumping Jehosophat!
Three hours plus, and they left out the Scouring of the Shire -- pretty well had to -- and the romance between Eowyn and Faramir -- again they pretty well had to -- but they didn't leave out much else. Both the battles and the quiet scenes. Liv Tyler can't have more than 10 minutes on screen but she's wonderful. As is Blanchett.
I was late getting mail up today but there's plenty now.
December 12, 2003
Years ago the Mac Users Group, led by an Apple official, instituted "guerilla journalism": floods of mail to anyone who wrote bad things about the Mac. It was a very effective campaign. It produced results: people didn't write bad things about the Mac. In fact they didn't write much at all.
I swore never to write about Mac again, because it just wasn't worth it. So did most of the major columnists in the industry. As a result the only articles about Mac came out in Mac magazines, and cross platform books had real problems finding anyone willing to work with a Mac. That may or may not have had something to do with the Mac's loss of market share, but it wasn't malice on the part of the writers, merely weariness. Anything less than fulsome praise was always inadequate for Mac users, and always resulted in insults. most of them childish, and accusations of being in the pay of Micro$oft and addicted to Windoze, and being brain-dead.
So now we have:
Despite a mature and well intentioned invitation, the
cry babies at MacSlash are beginning an anti-Pournelle conversation.
What's amusing here is that with great confidence people state that I don't know something, but I have already tried what they say will work. Clearly they haven't tried it themselves. It ought to work, therefore...
Worse, though, is that they seem to think that if I record something here that turns out to be a genuine mistake on my part it makes me an idiot: I thought the point of a public log was to get impressions down. Sure one makes mistakes. You can record them or not. If you do record them and later find it was an error and you ought to have tried another method, all to the good. And of course daybooks are rambling and don't read smooth like published columns. That's what rewrites are for.
What I am being told by the Mac community is that if it don't go perfectly, first time, there's something wrong with me: this despite my having the advice of some of the best people in the business. And note the language. I am never merely wrong, I am always wrong-headed and worthy of contempt.
That said, I want to thank the readers who have understood what I am trying to do and have written to try to help. Much of that has been helpful. Such as
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=107804 > for further
Which still doesn't solve the problem in this case because I can eject and try connections until doomsday and still have the problem I am having. My difficulty has been duplicated without solution by a number of Mac experts. We will find the answer, if there is one; but what the Mac people are telling me over on their discussion web site is that I am a fool for sharing any frustrations or problems.
The column stories almost always end with a happy ending; that's one of the "secrets" to successful column writing and making a living at this kind of journalism. Daybooks are supposed to be a record of what's going on, not polished up. I see now I should probably keep mine in a private place.
But we still have the problem that I can browse some of the shared resources on the Windows network and I can't browse others, and I can connect to some and not others, and there is no obvious reason for the difference other than the history of the attempts to make the connections. But I see I am beginning to make a public log again. I'll put this elsewhere.
For the Mac enthusiasts who would like to see more Mac users: realistically you have two sources, people who have never used computers before, and Windows users. You might think about the implications of that.
Of course there are those who want to be part of a small and exclusive community of people who are better than everyone else, and thus don't want more Mac users.
Mail later. It's time for breakfast. Above written before coffee so I reserve the right to revise it.
I get mail from people saying Macslash gets better later on. If so I didn't read far enough. I have only so much time.
The simple solution is to keep my ramblings private. Ye gods.
Have a look at http://www.rivertext.com/monks.html
And Fred Bockmann has just sent this:
Which looks definitive but doesn't look so simple as all that...
December 13, 2003
Since 2 AM my Earthlink account has delivered fourteen messages, all spam including one from Earthlink itself which I suppose I can't actually call spam.
The news is full of stories of spammers being prosecuted in Virginia. Whatever happens to them won't be good enough. Or bad enough, depending on your view. Something lingering with boiling oil I think...
Subj: A Medal for Horatius
And I see that the Mac gurus are now saying that the answers to all problems are found in a couple of minutes with google, and I am an idiot for not knowing it. That sort of smug superiority is common, and one reason why it's a big temptation to abandon the whole thing.
There is one small question: if connecting to Active Directory is so easy (and some of the links he found with google lead to rather obscure scripting, some lead to page not found, and some lead to irrelevance) but if in fact it is all so easy -- why can Thursby make money selling a third party program to accomplish this, and Apple is apparently going to issue a patch?
Maybe it is all that simple, and I'm just not bright enough to see it. I do know I am very weary of the whole thing. But for some reason Dan and Roland, who have been working with these systems for a long time, didn't find it so simple.
I wonder at people who need to belittle others to salvage their own intellectual self esteem, and why the congregate where they do. I mean, I suppose I studied the phenomenon in my psychology classes (although my branch of psychology had more to do with matrix algebra and statistical inference than any kind of psychoanalysis: my first computer work was to work on a program to invert matrices on an IBM 650 and there was no assembler for the machine at the time); but I don't remember much about that branch of psychology. As a novelist I can deal with such people, but I can't say I really understand them.
The Mac problem as it stands: there is associated with certain computers on the Windows Active Directory, in the Mac Networking system, empty folders. They can't be deleted, and so long as they exist the Mac ceases to use Networking to try to log on to those machines. If this seems to make no sense, believe me, it doesn't to a number of pretty sharp people. I can do command-k and then smb://chaosmanor networked computer name/shared resource name and I can in fact log on to machines that I cannot browse to through the Network icon. Other machines I can browse to perfectly, and connect to as easily through the Mac as I can through the Windows network. We don't see any differences between those machines, with the possible exception that we may have tried to log on and failed in the case of the machines for which the Mac created an empty folder (which folder it won't let go of). This continues to defy explanation. Since I don't like unsolved problems I'll continue to attack it.
Note that in the column, stories tend to have a happy ending; it's here in the day book that I put up problems that I haven't solved yet. Apparently the Macslashers don't quite comprehend such things, just as they cannot believe there are some problems that just aren't so easy to find the solution to. And. horrors, there may really be bugs, bugs!, in some of the Mac code. God knows Windows is full of them.
Anyway, the incentive to continue giving ammunition to people who seem to think it fun to play the Macslasher games is not very great. One might have thought someone would have learned from the guerrilla journalism days, when they managed to stop most columnists from looking at or thinking about the Mac at all: it was just too painful for too little reward.
I was induced to buy this Mac, paying for it at full price in an Apple store, because people I respect including many subscribers to this site wanted me to have another look. Apple would have been willing to send a machine but for maybe 90 days, and I would not have been able to buy that machine from them at the end of the test: it would have to go back. I don't work that way. Chaos Manor tests stuff by USING it. If this Mac isn't useful to me it is going out; but if it is useful, then I want to use it, and that means I don't send it back in 90 days. So I bought it. And as a laptop it's neat.
It has competition: a Tablet PC. I like tablets a lot. And the Tablet integrates with the Windows Active Directory network painlessly. The Mac is much harder to work with: it's still simpler to go to the Mac and copy files to it, and from it to the Windows systems, than to get past the Mac's paranoia about sharing files from anywhere but certain folders that are "public" or accepting files into any but the "drop" folders (and then not letting the sender know if the operation was successful). If you sit at the Mac you don't have those problems. Incidentally we had some of those problems with the Tablet at first: I reported on that. We had to blow away the entire Windows networking software on the Tablet and reinstall to get it to work properly. Eventually it did, and now our Tablet is integrated into the Active Directory Network just fine. I can send to it and receive from it or even go to a third machine and send to the Tablet from a fourth. This makes some operations much easier.
My next step on the Mac is to set up my mail accounts on it and see how it does at handling mail from multiple accounts, and how it does with Spam. I will want to set things so that copies of all the mail are left on the server. Then I'll turn off the Outlook system and see how I deal with Mail on the Mac. That's next week.
And after that we'll see about putting a copy of this page on the Mac and editing it there.
A busy week or two.
And it's late and I am going to bed. I sure liked using the Mac out in the waiting rooms at Kaiser. It's a neat laptop, I got some real editing done, and Office for Mac and Office 2003 don't have any problems at all in reading and writing files that either machine can read. I like that.
Office for the Mac works the way Office does on a Windows machine, with some exceptions and the exceptions may be improvements. They take getting used to but they aren't repugnant.
December 14, 2003
We woke to good news. They got Saddam, dirty and scraggly, living in a hole in the ground with money he couldn't spend, turned in by his last friends. Since my daughter Dr. Jennifer Pournelle is headed for Baghdad -- may be there now -- to be part of restoring the antiquities research program in Mesopotamia, that's good news here.
The bad news of course is that it's pretty clear he wasn't coordinating any of the resistance efforts in Baghdad. Still, if they'll turn in Saddam they'll turn in anybody, and he didn't go out in a blaze of glory resisting the occupation, he didn't even fight like a trapped rat.
Now the legal wrangles begin. Who has jurisdiction? Is he an enemy head of state, or a common criminal? Is an Iraqi court to try him, and what precedent does it set if they behead him under sharia laws? What message does that send to other dictators other than the obvious one, get nukes and get them quick? In the euphoria over his capture it is important to remember these things.
I forsee interesting times, but it's better that we have him, a scraggly scared shadow of power, than that the legend continues.
His sons died fighting. It might have been better if he had as well.
On reflection no: the Lion of the Middle East went out with a whimper, and it's going to be a lot harder to get people to go martyr themselves when the hero gave up without a fight, and meekly submits to cavity searches.
On the Mac scene:
It's pretty clear that there were not so many problems -- in fact not many at all -- getting Mac OSX 10.2 connected to Windows Active Directory systems, which is why my advisors thought it would be simple, and why we attempted it: that's the network I have, a bit needlessly complex but still fairly common.
It is also clear I ought to have started with a simpler objective, and had I known this one would be so difficult I would have. I didn't start with the notion of making the Mac fail, I started with the notion of finding what's best about it. Unfortunately the terrible experience in the store, followed by the beach ball crash on startup -- see the column -- followed by other difficulties including the fact that I didn't have 10.3 on the machine even though the store told me I had "the new operating system" -- all this consumed time I had intended to go to doing neat things with the Mac.
Well, a day. We'll keep trying. Office is neat. And:
So there is hope ahead.
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