THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 322 August 9 - 15, 2004
Highlights this week:
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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August 9, 2004
Belated Congratulations to Frank and Peggy Gasparik
You can get the network install file here:
It's 272,391 KB, but the connection is fast. I'm pulling it down right now, and I'm getting 280 KB/s.
-- Robert Bruce Thompson email@example.com http://www.ttgnet.com/thisweek.html http://forums.ttgnet.com/ikonboard.cgi
I just got mine. Installing now. Note that "network install" doesn't require a network it merely means you get the whole package and run it locally.
The installation has run a half hour already on a 3 GHz machine (not this one; I'll take it off line before I do that...)
I exaggerated: the installation took about 26 minutes on a 3 GHz system (Sable, a RAMBUS system used for writing, research, and some games). All went well. The machine had SP-2 RC-2 on it already. There were no difficulties, and it is starting up.
The startup is taking a LONG time, with several splash screens, then blue screens; but it seems healthy enough, and here's the login screen. Hmm. Long delay in loggin in; blue screen again -- ah. There it is. It's up, and while everything takes longer to start up, it all seems to be working well.
The latest column, all 13,000 words (whew!) is done and sent to BYTE ; it's about the new Prescott and whether you need one, and about temperatures.
On which subject, it's about 95F outside, and climbing, and my air conditioner is fighting it with indifferent success. I've been out spraying water on the roof and on all the surfaces on my balcony that my window faces in order to reduce the input load.
We're doing a major cleanup at Chaos Manor, throwing out books, old business cards from people I have forgotten, stuff I am never going to review (that will go over to LASFS since they have a computer room full of semi-obsolete stuff including some of my discards.
Frank and Peggy Gasparik got married in Sonoma Saturday. Not only didn't I get there, but what with the deadlines I didn't even get to the on-line part, or get around to sending congratulations until today. That's the column business: when the deadlines are upon you, everything else gets put aside. And yes, better planning might produce a bit less pressure, but it doesn't really: there's always more to write about than you have space for even with the flexibility of on-line (my old printed BYTE column ran about 5,000 words, sometimes getting as large as 6,500 during the glory days when they needed editorial material to hold the advertisements apart; the typical BYTE.COM column is 10,000 words, and lately it's been running longer. NIKKEI BYTE has to cut back to what they can handle in print, which is generally about 5,000 words; I don't envy the editors their job.
I've been doing this monthly since 1979, and every month I wonder how I'll find enough to talk about, and every month there's more to say than I have room for. The Computer Revolution has been good to me....
Now I have errands, and I need to install SP-2 on most of my machines.
As usual, there was a lot in mail over the weekend.
I don't use AIM, but for those who do:
- Roland Dobbins
And there is ANOTHER VIRUS, Bagle is back, this time inside a ZIP file. It is NOT detected by Norton.
Update: Norton, MacAfee, and all the other virus detection engines have updates that find this.
The moral of the story is simple: do not open unexpected mail attachments. Even if they appear to be from someone you know: be sure it's really from them, and that the cover letter is genuine. Opening attachments including Zip files can ruin a week for you and all your friends...
August 10, 2004
Siggraph is on down at the LA Convention Center, and I'm not there. I spent the morning cleaning up in my office, and in about ten minutes I am going to go write fiction. Alex and David know more about graphics than I do, and they can go see all the cool stuff and write a report for BYTE. Me, I am enjoying a clean desk and a reasonably orderly office. Now true, the Great Hall has junk in boxes all over it and that's another two days work; but at least the office is orderly. All except for the Mac corner, which needs having everything taken off.
My routine involves getting a lot of boxes, and piling everything, including contents of book shelves, into those boxes. Eventually I have made some clean flat surfaces. I keep that up until it's all clean. Then I dust and use lemon oil. Then I begin unpacking the boxes: Deal with it if it needs action, or throw it away; or put it where it belongs. There is a"residual" box for stuff I don't know what to do with. When I am through most of the boxes I take the residual boxes and go through those. Eventually there will be one or more boxes of residuals that I really don't have much use for. I should throw them out, but what usually happens is they go back to a back room to age, and one day I come across that box and wonder why I kept any of that junk, and then it can go.
It's also clear that I can make a lot more space by replacing my 21" glass bottles with 19" flat screens. That will nearly double the accessible book shelf space (there are a lot of shelves I can get at only by moving a monitor stand; a flat screen will eliminate those stands). Now to look into what flat screen monitors are available at what price. I haven't look at monitors in years: My Hitachi, ViewSonic, and NEC bottles have been reliable for a long time. What I need has to be very readable, and good enough for most games including on-line games like Star Wars Galaxies and Dark Age of Camelot. I probably need 19" to have enough screen real estate for the way I operate.
I suspect we are at the critical phase of Iraqi operations now: we will see if a few hundred casualties can drive the Americans out. Kerry's notion of getting allies and client states to come in and take over for us is a pipe dream. Who'd want the job? We have poured billions into that sandy waste, and oil prices are at a record high. So much for the neo-Jacobin strategy.
I see from Samuel Francis that Midge Decter, AKA Mrs. Norman Podhoretz and Mother-in-law of Elliot Abrams, is now President of the Philadelphia Society. I was once a member of that, back in my academic days, my sponsor being Russell Kirk; I went to a few of the meetings, but when I left academia money was tight, and trips to academic conferences couldn't be justified. In those days the Philadelphia Society was largely Burkean Conservatives like the followers of Kirk. Possony went to a couple of meetings and pronounced them too philosophical and a waste of time after James Burnham ceased to attend. The organization tried hard to build both philosophical and pragmatic bridges between Conservatives who believe government a positive good but, in Franklin's words, "like fire a dangerous friend and a fearful enemy," and Libertarians and followers of Hayek who consider government at best a necessary evil. Frank Meyer of National Review had his "Fusionist" position, and worked mightily to keep all the elements of the conservative coalition pulling in more or less the same direction. He and Burnham were greatly missed when they left us.
But in those days the "neo-conservatives" generally didn't go to Philadelphia Society meetings. They weren't there in the sixties when I was still in academia. After I dropped out apparently and stopped paying much attention, the neoconservatives did begin attendence. Russell Kirk was my friend as well as my mentor and we kept in touch (he was godfather to one of my sons) and I learned of some very bitter tensions between the neocons and Russell Kirk, with Midge Decter at one point accusing Kirk of anti-Semitism, which has long been the all-purpose charge thrown at anyone who disagrees. It was nonsense, of course. Whatever Russell Kirk was or wasn't, a less prejudiced man never lived. But then at one point the charge was leveled at Possony, to the astonishment of Mrs. Possony. Regina was from a Berlin Jewish family of leftist persuasion who fled Hitler to the tender mercies of Stalin, who, of course, promptly threw them into a labor camp as potential spies. She later received some help from Albert Einstein, who sent her some soap and stockings, with his return address prominent on the package: the Stalinists were understandably concerned about making an enemy of so prominent a man, and she got her care packages. The story of Regina's escape through Siberia and China and her meeting and marriage with Possony (a fugitive from the Austrian Anschluss) would make a good novel, but the notion of either Possony as anti-Semitic is bizarre.
According to Samuel Francis, Ms. Decter said in her presidential speech that she is not now and never has been a neo-conservative, which is astonishing, and, she says, "neither is my husband, my son, my three daughters, and those of my ten grandchildren who are old enough to have political views," which is overwhelming. As Samuel Francis says, Miss Decter really ought to read her husband's speeches sometime.
But with the ascension of Mrs. Podhoretz to the presidency, the Philadelphia Society, whatever it is, has certainly ceased to be the organization reflecting the views of the Burkean philosophers or the Old Right like Possony and Whittaker Chambers.
National Review had the egregious Frum read most of the Old Right and Burkeans out of the conservative movement a year ago; National Review has been backpedaling ever since, but without much effect, and certainly hasn't regained the original NR stature.
All this leaves those of us who believe in the old constitutional order: defend the borders, leave most matters including welfare and social benefits to the states; keep immigration down to levels that allow the Melting Pot to do its work; get the Feds out of our lives and particularly out of education; and a foreign policy of being friends of liberty everywhere, but the guardians only of our own; and fund X projects and other research in a strategy of technology -- it leaves us without much in the way of spokespeople. Ah well.
August 11, 2004
I have no brief for Mike Wallace, but I somehow doubt he deserved this:
-- Roland Dobbins
Anarcho-tyranny in action. An "inspector" for the Limousine Commission expects to be treated with "respect". And lots of it.
As Mencken said, the American people get the government they deserve, and they get it good and hard. And see mail. Of course Wallace is an arrogant SOB and I am sure he tried to pull rank; but I doubt he made any physical threats. And he's old and easily vulnerable to terror tactics.
They'd never have pulled that on Snoop Dog or someone who looked actually dangerous. Anarcho-tyranny in action.
I got several thousand words done in the last couple of days so it was worth missing Siggraph, and Alex and David have that covered anyway.
August 12. 2004
I sent off my TIAA/CREF forms today. I paid into that private retirement fund for about 3 years back in the 60's when I was at Pepperdine: and the annuity from it is worth about what my Social Security (30 years of much higher payments) brings in. So it goes. It is my understanding that John McCarthy, retired full professor at Stanford, now gets from TIAA/CREF more than he got as salary at Stanford, and Stanford professors are not among the low paid academics.
But we have Social Security. The government loves you.
I now have XP SP-2 on nearly all my machines. It works. The biggest negative I have seen in most reviews is that it's too big for dialup downloads, which is true, and so what? Get someone to download the Network version and burn it. I have done that here and it installs on all my machines from one download.
Oh: and this works with TabletPC too.
13 August 2004
Friday the Thirteenth Falls on Friday this Month
And I have a ton of work, so most of the action is in Mail. I'm off to look at a flat screen and possibly to acquire a 64-bit Athlon.
Didn't get either, but I will, shortly.
August 14, 2004
Busy with fiction.
I note that once again we are throwing away lives in Iraq. Having started the final assault to put paid to that little upstart, and taken the casualties to be ready to finish the job, we are once again halting, letting them regroup, and "negotiating" with the "help" of "mediators". The Iraqi government is furious, of course. The Marines and Army are furious. Al Satyr will get away with it again.
And the worst of it is, no one likely to be elected would do it any different.
This is the very road to Caesarism. Imperialism light doesn't work. Incompetent imperialism infuriates the legions. Does no one read history? Eventually Caesar's legions took matters into their own hands, and Caesar's famous generosity to his enemies was to no avail.
I have a long letter from Cochran pointing out what we all know, that we have no reason in justice to be in Iraq; Tom Clancy put it simply on a TV interview the other day, "No casus belli." Of course we are there now; and we have a moral obligation not to act in ways that make things worse.
If we want to build democracy in Iraq we must establish a strong government, and see that it has a monopoly of force and violence; allowing hundreds of local militias won't do it. Now I can, and you can, question whether democracy is the right stuff for Iraq. Democracy works if and only if the loser of an election thinks it better to submit than to fight. Given enough "diversity" the United States won't even be in that happy condition, and Iraq certainly isn't; but if there is to be "democracy" then all the armed outfits that are ready to revolt need to be suppressed, big time.
Maybe that's the wrong goal. It would not be mine: mine would be to get the damned oil pumping again and get out as soon as we decently can. But not before the people of Fallujah understand that barbarism has severe consequences if the victims of your barbarism are Americans. Had that lesson been taught back when the Fallujah mess flared up, we wouldn't be playing games with Junior and his militia kids.
You can rule by consent of the governed or you can rule with an iron fist; if you don't have legitimacy you probably better polish up that fist.
Of course we could always go back to what I originally proposed, local governments only loosely federated with limited power for the central government. That would mean local persecutions of some minorities, and probably some ethnic cleansing, particularly of Arabs recently inserted into non-Arab areas in Saddam's various Arabization programs; and we'd have to put up with that. But it would work, although it's a bit late now that we have made the current group "sovereign" and we would have to depose them to start over with a Federal structure. Of course it is politically incorrect so we will not do that. God alone knows what we really will do. Muddle on, I suppose.
But if you want a strong central government (why do we? but we act as if we do) powerful everywhere, run through a winner takes all power parliamentary election, you have no choice but to see that local militias understand there will be severe consequences to revolt; very severe.
I can't figure it out: either I am exceedingly stupid, or our political masters are; and when I listen to Kerry I realize that he would not do anything much different from Bush, but would neglect defense and technology; we'd be stuck in Iraq and have little else in the rest of the world.
I'll say it one more time: is there a party anywhere that wants to devolve most domestic issues including welfare to the states, bring the army home, invest in energy independence including the technologies needed 5, 10, and 20 years from now so that we can make that independence an achievement and not a goal, and invest in the military technologies we will need (see my megamissions paper) --- but there is no such party. I think I will go write fiction.
We have an education system geared to turn everyone in it to the left, but which doesn't instill skills or competence. Bismark thought God looked after fools, drunks, and the United States of America. I sure hope so.
For those who have been recommending flat screens, thanks. I have about decided that I must have one with both analog and digital input. Speakers not required. 19" minimum but I think I probably need 21" if I can afford it. I want this to sit at about the distance from me that my bottles do now, and thus liberate the office space that the bottles take up, allowing me to get at shelves that are not blocked off by the bottles. That and heat are the main reasons for changing: the office shelves are needed.
Since I sit here and fly this desk all day they have to have SHARP text capabilities, and decent color, operate in a room with extraneous light sources and possible glare, and be quick enough to respond to allow games up to and including DOOM III.
August 15, 2004
Something is going on in Baghdad meaning all of Iraq. Non military people are getting out fast as the situation heats up. More later.
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