THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 361 May 9 - 15, 2005
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May 9, 2005
As of tomorrow morning I'll be off on a trip, which may or may not allow Internet access; if I get access I'll keep this place up to date or at least informed.
For all of you who have subscribed or renewed and haven't heard from me yet, apologies. April is the cruel month, especially if you get ersatz Legionnaire's Disease. Between Taxes, WinHEC, Space Access Conference, 'flu, getting the column out the door, and preparing for a long trip, I have been driven nearly to distraction. All is well now, and I'll be in fine shape when we get back. Or I can hope so. Meanwhile, I have lost none of the names and corrections, and I'll record them when I get back, at which point I'll have a nice exclusive trip report with pictures for subscribers. (I'll put it up here later at leisure, but subscribers will get first looks.)
And with luck I'll be able to update here sometimes. We'll see.
|This week:||Tuesday, May
Delta Crown Room. wireless is not working. ( have no Small screwdriver. life is not fun.
Atlanta - I have bought an eyeglasses repair Kit with screwdriver and wireless will turn on but Now I See No Networks. But we are at a far terminal so that may be the problem. The handwriting recognition is working all right.
Our flight boards in ten minutes. No problems so far other then TSA but that was minor. If I could get wireless all would be great.
Long flight, uneventful except the line to passport control. The hired driver was waiting. Roberta has us in an apartment on the right bank of the Tiber.
May 11, 2005
2130 local time, ROME
12:30 California time. We're here, I have taken a long walk and got lost, then looked up to see I was in fact back. Just as well since I didn't know the address or phone number.
As expected my cell phone doesn't work. There is a DSL modem here in the apartment, and I can connect to it, and it seems to connect to the outside world (the WAN light blinks) but I am not connected to the outside world, and nothing I do seems to do it. The usual use here is apparently by USB. I don't have any software to connect to that, and I don't have any way to read in setup software anyway.
Tomorrow it's off to an interenet cafe. If you see this you will know it worked.
Electricity works. I won't be without computer power or recharged batteries for the Olympus camera. I should be able to get lots of good pictures, once my brains start working again. For the moment it's jet lag with a vengeance, but I figure if I can stay up until 2300 local time and go to bed and sleep until morning I ought to be adjusted pretty well. It usually works that way for me anyway.
We are in a middle class district, not far from where we stayed when we went to Rome in the early 1980's carrying one of the first portable (4" screen) computers. I called it Adele and I'll remember the name of the company eventually. I still have the machine, but it's home, and hasn't been turned on for years. It may even be floppies only, no hard drive. Niven and I also took it out to Death Valley when we were writing Footfall. Otrona Attache? It was portable but had to be plugged in, so I guess you call that a luggable. I took it to Venice and bribed a waiter to bring me an extension cord so I could take notes in the cafe there on the Piazza; Henry't? Anyway there's an outdoor restaurant and coffee house, and authors have been working at tables there from at least the 19th Century, but I was the first one to write with a computer in Rome and Venice -- at least at restaurants in the public squares. There were no cell phones or laptops then and not many people wrote books on computers in the first place. And it wasn't all that long ago.
Anyway, we're in R XIII which might or might not be unlucky, and tomorrow is Friday the 13th. Or Friday is Friday 13th anyway.
The streets are lively at 9 PM. Every possible parking place, some ingeniously illegal, is taken up. Most of the cars are small. There are also about 1.2 motorbikes and motorcycles per inhabitant, leaving the interesting question of who drives the cars since clearly there are more than enough motorbikes to go around. This district was not so lively, and certainly had far less traffic, in the 1980's. I haven't yet located the place we stayed then, largely because we walked from it to the Forum in those days, and now the traffic is so thick it is a life threatening experience to walk almost anywhere. I do recall they had abandoned the excavations at the Circus Maximus and I walked among the remains of the dig. The signs said the work was sponsored by Umberto, Rex, and Benito Mussolini, Duce. All those signs were gone last time we were here, as were the big signs crediting them with building the Da Vinci Airport. Of course the airport is enormously expanded from the 1980's too.
Got to bed about 11 PM
May 12, 2005 0500
Awake. The system connects to the DSL modem, and I get an IP address of 192.168.1.2 with a gateway of 192.168.1.1
However, any attempt to get past the gateway produces the message that the target net is unreachable. Explorer at 192.168.1.1 produces (In Italian of course) a fair amount of information including that we are connected, but I can't get out. It's probably DNS services. IPCONFIG says we are looking at 192.168.1.1 as the DNS server.
It's all pretty clear from Telecom Italio, but I can't get past the gateway. I can ping the gate.
What I can't do is ping anything beyond the gate. Destination net unreachable every time. I have the feeling it's some trivial setting, but I can't figure it out. Anyway I give up. It won't connect to 192.168.0.0, and if there is any way to get a login screen for the ADSL I can't find it. Later today I will take this machine to American Express and see if they can help me. I suspect they can.
Jet lag still, but not as bad as it might be.
My wireless may or may not be working. The light goes on, when I turn it on. It sees no networks. That may be correct of course, but it seen nothing whatever, and I am not sure that is usual.
I have figured out how to use the adsl account. Outlook is "checking" the pst for problems so no email, but I have this ftp working now.
And all is well. We can connect so I will be updating this place from Rome.
Tomorrow the Golden House of Nero
May 13, 2005
Friday the Thirteenth falls on a Friday this month
Up early. Roberta wasn't feeling up to the Golden House of Nero. I got about 100 pictures but the ones in the book I bought are better.
Minor disaster: the Rayovac fast battery charger, which is alas the only one I brought, won't work with the converter I have (blue smoke). I'll see about a heavier duty converter at a store tomorrow. The Rayovac is wonderful for keeping the batteries up, but alas, the unit won't accept 220 (the power supply for the laptop takes 110 to 220 automatically so no converter needed). I'll see about a converter tomorrow.
Walked back from Golden House past Coliseum through the Forum. Had a look into the Mamartine Prison, and the Senate House. Many changes from last time: some things open that were not, but a lot of the Forum is now barricaded. You can't walk under most of the arches. This I suppose to prevent graffiti and the carving of initials on the monuments. Many seem to have memorialized their barbarian status by doing so.
The Trastevere district is interesting. Lively, full of small restaurants and people. Lots of construction near where we are. Of course most of the appliances in the apartment don't work very well. Most are electric and will not plug into the wall plugs without an adapter: it's not the voltage, just the plug arrangements, apparently an odd Italian custom that you are not expected to understand. I have an adapter I got in France that allows me to plug the power supply of the TabletPC into it thence into the 220; HP power supplies work automatically on 110 or 220. But the tea kettle won't plug into the wall sockets without a plug adapter. Neither will the toaster. Very odd.
May 14, 2005
I will have to get an adapter for the Rayovac battery charger or I won't have any way to take pictures. Shouldn't be that hard, but we'll see. The Rayovac fast charger wants a lot more current than the regular battery chargers. I knew that but thought a 1600 Watt converter would be enough. It wasn't. Blue smoke... (from the converter).
Jet lag continues to be pretty bad, but not much I can do about that. I used to recover from this much faster. Indeed, I didn't really understand why so many people complained of jet lag. This time I surely do.
Have email recommending a restaurant on Tiber Island, which isn't far from where we are staying. I'll walk over there and have a look.
The Trastevere District (literally across the Tiber; it's in a kind of bend in the river near Tiber Island) is very lively on a Saturday night. Literally everyone is out in the streets and in the public squares. There are street performers, some pretty good. Beggars, some aggressive. Tourists, but not so many here as in the better known areas of the city. Students.
Women's liberation in Italy: girls have their own motor scooters. Sometimes the boy has to ride tandem because he doesn't have one, or they took hers on a date. The boys seem embarrassed when that happens.
May 15, 2005
Slept in late. Maybe that will do the jet lag.
It didn't. I seem doomed to sleep most of the day. Nearly everything is closed on Sundays anyway. Santa Maria de Trastevere was crowded for Pentecost. After Mass an elderly sextant in slacks and a white shirt without necktie went about blowing out candles. No altar boys or girls for that, and no ceremony to it.
2330: Back from a long walk. It's a 45 minute walk from here up to Castel San Angelo and the Vatican. Trastevere is lively on a Sunday night, very much so. There's a stretch along the river between the Sixtus Bridge and the Mazzini Bridge that has no street lights, and it's about 60 feet down from the walk at street level to the paving stones on the walk at river level. The wall is waist high. No street lamps. Perfect place for an accident. I may make use of it.
The graffiti is heavy here, but it thins as you get close to the Vatican. There's almost none along Conciliation Blvd. and none at all inside the Vatican courtyard. Whether they clean it off, or the police are vigilant, or there is actually some respect being shown by the taggers isn't known to me. It may be thought bad luck to desecrate the Vatican itself. Certainly there's no hesitation to mark up the local churches! Many homeless or campers or both on the marble sidewalks under the arches leading into the Vatican. Some had full kits, backpacks, sleeping bags, some kind of inflatable mattresses; campers undoubtedly. Others looked more like bums. And some in between. The area is well lit, and the police obviously patrol the area so aside from the police themselves it seems reasonably safe, and there may be a deal going, sleep here and cause no trouble and we won't roust you.
There's a military area that seems to have been an Arboretum at one time, and a sign that commemorates those taken off to extermination by the Nazis in 1943. I don't find much in the guide books but the post is guarded.
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, 8,000 - 12,000 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. This site is run on the "public radio" model; see below.
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