THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 324 August 23 29, 2004
Highlights this week:
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August 23, 2004
Reminders from the tag end of last week's mail:
And don't forget BURNING TOWER
This just in from Dr. Jennifer Pournelle, who was whisked out of Baghdad to Jordan last week. You can find accounts at http://iraqnophobe.blogspot.com/ .
And I just got this as part of an inducement to take part in a prono web camera site. How in the world did they manage to get something so appropriate for me? But of course they must have sent it to many.
(Liz7t@aol.com) has forwarded the following message to you from James
Cameron about human exploration of Mars.
August 24, 2004
This is with pen and TabletPC on Jet Blue on the way to DC. Jet Blue had free wireless in the terminal.
It Was relatively easy to access and to retrieve mail. Writing on an airplane is hard because they jog your elbow a lot. Composing anything intelligent become impossible alas, but I can try. But I think I will do mail.
Travel is exhausting. Now I am connected with dialup.
August 25, 2994
In Fairfax, and it is time for a walk. I would guess Al Qaeda has won. I used to dislike travel, but now I hate it intensely. We will put up with any insolence just to get through it.
August 26, 2004
I am in Fairfax, at Homestead Village, which offers a high speed wireless service that does not work. So I am on by dialup. Homestead wireless has about 300 baud when it works at all. I am sure it is all new.
Meanwhile my son's older computer (which fortunately he doesn't need to use) is infected beyond belief and I don't have a copy of Startup Master on this machine so I can go into his and stop startups. I am sure there is a way to control what runs on startup in Windows, but the execrable help system doesn't tell it to me, and I have no reference works with me, and at dialup I can't go looking on line. Oh. Well.
I have been fighting Phil's winhlpp32.;exe virus. I'll get the darned thing yet! But it sure is ingenious. I was able to delete it in safe mode, but something else keeps crawling back. I don't really understand Norton 2004, which seems more complex than the versions I am used to.
I suppose I need to try grisoft or whatever it is, but being out here in the middle of nowhere I know nothing about it, and with no high speed connection it is hard to learn.
Well, I can't get mail. The virus problem is with a desktop here and isn't critical. But this problem,
Most certainly is. I have no idea what could be accessing my mail box. There are times when I want never to hear of a computer again.
That turned out to fix itself, and is, according to Thompson and others -- thanks -- an artifact of a connection breaking after being logged on; there's a timer. So all is well there. And the Homestead wireless net in Fairfax is working properly tonight; it wasn't last night.
Phil's older machine seems to have been infected with a dozen viruses and spyware worms, and I got all but one; but that one remains. Probably I can research that on line here with this machine to see what to do about his. Windows 2000 needs something like startup manager and then registry editing; which I did, and stopped most of the undeletable "wrong handle" files. It's not critical and I may just give up and tell him to scrub and reinstall. As Thompson says, a Linux boot disk would solve many of those problems.
My own systems are working fine now.
I am relearning how to deal with viruses, fortunately not on my machines. Another case of doing silly things so you don't have to. I'll have a lot more about that in the column.
August 27, 2004
I still owe you an essay on education and schooling, and I suppose I should take another look at computers and the war, but it's hard to do on the road.
And Aleta says this one says it all:
There is an implied question here:
Jerry: This article paints a dismal picture of MS Word 2003. I'm still using Office XP (at work). I'm not looking forward to being "upgraded", personally I think Office (and especially Word) peaked at Office '97. Do you have any experience with Word (Office) 2003?
All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand. Stephen Wright
Which I have not had a chance to get to; I have had no problems with Word 2003 and I will read the above later today. I like much of 2003 including the "reading" view. Anyone with comments on this?
One thing I fail to understand is why, when you boot with Norton AntiVirus, it cannot find the C: drive and thinks it is the A: drive; and it scans only itself, which is pretty useless. Why can't it scan the C: drive which is what you need done?
But it will not see the c: drive at all. Invalid drive spec. Is this because Norton can't afford a boot OS that can see NTFS?
And: I uninstalled Norton. Then reinstalled. It says that msnmsg.exe and teekids.exe are both infect: and does not delete them (although it did delete msblast.exe and a couple of others). Only I cannot FIND msnmsg.exe in safe mode so that I can get rid of them.
Now what? Do those files exist or not, and why does Norton think it sees them when I can't find them?
I think by uninstalling Norton Anti-Virus then reinstalling I have got it fixed. Was testing when it was time to leave. We had a nice dinner at Chadwick's in Alexandria. First time I think I have ever been there. Right on the Potomac at the foot of Duke Street. (Well, it's a left turn, actually, onto the Strand)
Now we are back at Homestead where I get "limited or no connectivity" trying to connect to their wireless net. I was going to research some of the things I have learned from trying to unvirus Phil's computer, but of course the execrable Homestead has not enough IP addresses, so I didn't get one. I presume everyone in the place has attempted to use this. I rather dislike this. I suppose I will have to connect through dialup and have done with it.
I never had this situation, being able to connect to a network but getting "limited or no connectivity" before. It doesn't assign an IP address, and I presume that is the fault of the network, and Homestead.
Bloody hell. I am paying for high speed. But of course I don't get it. I suspect it's just lots of people using this.
So it goes. One of the hundreds of reasons I no longer like to travel.
Now it has assigned me an IP address, but I can't log on to it. The server is probably busy, but until I can supply a user name and password, meaning that it intercepts an open browser and returns that request, I am still off line. This is not fun. But then travel in general is not fun. When wireless works, as with the Admiral's Club at American, and a few places like that, it's pretty neat. but for the most part it's like this, like the early days of the net, nothing happens, and you feel somehow it must be your fault, you must have done something wrong, when it is the incompetence of people who are providing you with "services" that is at fault. The West hands us marvels with one hand and stomach aches with the other.
Disconnecting and reconnecting gets similar experiences. A couple of tries before I can get an IP address, but then no way to log on and thus nothing I can do with that address. I can't actually go out and view web pages or get email.
And that's the way it is, at Homestead in Fairfax.... (Clearly by the time you see this I will have found another way, probably by dialup.)
If the design here is to get me to give up on Microsoft and look for some other way to work on the road it may work. Now opening Outlook gets a mandatory 10 minute check of the horrid outlook.pst file that may not have been closed properly. Another way to waste my time.
I hate small computers and I hate travel just now. And I rather hate that I am so compulsive that I can't just say to hell with it and go to bed. It is clearly not going to work and it is clearly the fault of the Homestead wireless network.
As indeed it was.
August 28, 2004
And if you get up at dawn, the Homestead Hotels network works splendidly. So they just were overloaded. I presume a lot of places do this, and why? What would it take for them to be able to handle the traffic they can reasonably expect?
Of course they also had our reservations wrong, and not much else works here, so I suppose I ought not be astonished.
Now that I have high speed net access I was able to look up www.updatenow.org and find out that it uses the messenger service == of which I was aware but had forgotten == to bring in stuff to computers. And you can go to http://grc.com/stm/ShootTheMessenger.htm and find out about it from Gibson, and get a way to disable it. I'll try that on Phil's older system later today.
I am still unable to figure out who this updatenow outfit is, but I do not think I want to visit the place.
Vacation: fixing computers. Oh Well
I have to say that when Homestead's wireless high speed net is working it works well. But the error messages or lack of them can leave you confused and thinking you have done something wrong. And that needs fixing. Of course Homestead shouldn't be touting a service that works only for the lucky few who get on early and stay on.
The comic strip that Aleta pointed out to you is good, but one from a few days earlier reads as if you had scripted it. http://www.klydemorris.com/strips.cfm?strip_ID=1332
It does have that look, don't it?
"The actual science of logic is conversant at present only with things either certain, impossible, or entirely doubtful, none of which (fortunately) we have to reason on. Therefore the true logic for this world is the calculus of Probabilities..."
James Clerk Maxwell
August 30, 2004
In DC. home tomorrow. It will be a while before I can catch up.
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