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Mail 101 May 15 - 21, 2000
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I try to answer mail, but mostly I can't get to all of it. I read it all, although not always the instant it comes in. I do have books to write too... I am reminded of H. P. Lovecraft who slowly starved to death while answering fan mail.
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Highlights this week:
May 15, 2000
Frederick Forsyth, in today's WSJ, advocates the use of mercenaries in places like Sierra Leone, noting that the West has become so reluctant to take casualties in its own troops that there is little choice.
"In which case we may, if we insist on trying to help those Franz Fanon called 'the wretched of the earth,' simply admit that we have no choice but to equip and fund, at arm's length, a bunch of professional volunteer soldiers drawn from many nations who are prepared to fight where we are not.
For the mercenary is a simplistic fellow. Not for him the strutting parades of West Point, the medals on the steps of the White House or perhaps a place at Arlington. He simply says: "Pay me my wage and I'll kill the bastards for you."
And if he dies, they will bury him quickly and quietly in the red soil of Africa and we will never know. Quite so."
If you subscribe to the online edition, the URL is: http://interactive.wsj.com/articles/SB958345961124000516.htm
-- Cheers! - Lindy Sisk Lindy@arcanamavens.com "Failure is easy to handle - work hard to improve. Success is also easy to handle - you solved the wrong problem, so work hard to improve."
The word mercenary is the wrong one for most the people I have known who were called by that term. "Mercenary" implies they are merely in it for the money and would chance sides for more. I think I have known 2 such people in a long life, and I have known a lot "mercs". These were people who had chosen a side, perhaps rightly, perhaps wrongly. They wouldn't fight without being paid, but there wasn't enough to pay them to be on the other side of the fight. Of those I have known, there are quite a few I would prefer to have with me in a dill press than anyone else I can think of. Whether I could pay them or not.
Many UN troops are as much mercenaries as anyone: they get substantially more pay when deployed than at home, even if they are in theory the national soldiers of some nation or another.
Peace keeping where there is no peace is an illusion. What that means is taking sides and fighting.
Roland Dobbins on No Gun Ri: See
You got quite a lot of mail on this topic back in February and I see the new article has drummed up quite a bit more, but I thought it worth mentioning a couple of notes on one of the the low-end products.
I've used a couple of personal firewalls -- BlackICE and a product called Freedom by ZeroKnowlege. Freedom's primary function is to keep one anonymous while surfing but it includes a personal firewall function as part of that. BlackICE has been discussed here enough.
Lately I decided to add a couple more computers, setup a LAN, and share my net connection so I bought a D-Link DI-701 for $127 at Buy.com. This seems to be a perfectly workable firewall/router combo (it's a little hard to tell since it doesn't actually *do* anything) for the SOHO or home user once you get it installed -- which isn't necessarily easy. It has limits -- fixed IP address space, no logs, etc. -- but if you're not trying to build a sophisticated network it seems to be more than Good Enough for the money and it keeps one more app off my workstation.
You do have to be careful of their tech support, though. If you need help with a D-Link product get on the phone and call. You'll usually get a helpful technician, within a reasonable time, who will help you through your problem.
If you try their e-mail support you will wait at least 48 hours and get back a response that is so lame you'll think it came from an inebriated monkey. They must use refugees from the Psychic Hotline or dropouts from Lottery Drawing school on their e-mail support staff. You can ask the most obvious question and get back a response that not only isn't an answer, but bears no resemblance to your situation. It's amazing. And completely avoidable if you just call.
Terry Frazier Atlanta, GA mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
PS My 10-year-old Northgate Omnikey/PLUS is still going strong. It's been through four computers and is about to be moved to a fifth. When the day comes I shall mourn its passing.
I will have a Dlink shortly. Then I can say something intelligent about it...
Concerning your recommendation to check on that Windows security hole, last Saturday, I went to the site, was redirected to a Windows secrity site and ran the recommended patch. Since that time my notebook computer, which I usually use to access the internet has turned into the machine you describe as having glue poured into it. I can get my email, but I can't reach any site with IE 5.
This could be a coincidence, but I do question what that patch did.
Have you experimented with that patch? Have any of your readers?
Lost in Manhattan...
Jim Hanley Jim@JHUniverse.com
I have installed it on several machines with no discernable effect. Anyone know of a different result?
Once again I turn to you and your readers for advice. I am currently locked in a death struggle with Word97 ... and its winning. Can you or anyone else recommend a guide book for Microsoft Word97? One that assumes no prior knowledge of Word97 on the part of the user?
Thanks, Jim Snover email@example.com
P.S. Where its killing me is in its constant attempts to "help" me. Is there a preference selection in Word97 for "Shut Up, and Quit Trying To Help Me?"
I use W 97 upstairs, but only for writing books. I haven't noticed any particular problems. I mostly use W 2000 for most machines. I do get annoyed when it pops up and says "I think you are trying to write a letter, want me to help?" and I don't seem to be able to tell it to stop making asinine suggestions. This happens just often enough to annoy without being so often that I have taken the time to find out what to do...
|This week:||Tuesday, May
This is from today's Good Morning SiliconValley. My question is: Mushroom cloud in a vacuum? Strange, very strange.
A physicist involved with the Cold War-era Armour Research Foundation says the U.S government allegedly planned to detonate a nuclear bomb on the moon as a display of military might. Describing the conceit of the effort, Dr Leonard Reiffel said, "It was clear the main aim of the proposed detonation was a PR exercise and a show of oneupmanship. The Air Force wanted a mushroom cloud so large it would be visible on earth. The US was lagging behind in the space race." More unsettling still -- if that's possible -- is corroboration of celebrated
astronomer Carl Sagan's involvement in the project (mathematical modelling of the expansion of a malignant exploding dust cloud around the moon) and Sagan's suggestion that a nuclear explosion might present an easy way for scientists to detect microbial life on the moon.
I never heard of this project and if it were going to be taken seriously I probably would have. When reports like this say "The Air Force" they probably refer to some general with a wild notion. Sagan would never have been involved in actual operations planning. If this were a serious study, some word would have got to the people who'd have to implement it, and none ever did. My guess is this was a wild project over in some division.
As to lagging in the space race, we thought that way for a while after they got behind the Moon before we did, and after the fire things looked a bit grim, but a PR stunt wasn't part of any plan I knew about. Also see below.
How to give Clippy a lengthy nap or how to EUTHANIZE Clippy.
Stay well and thanks for all the info, Tony Brown
Thanks. I don't really want to get rid of the help gizmo but I would like to tame it a bit.
Your correspondent who wants to do without Word's pathetic help needs to perform a Search and Destroy mission on all .ACT files. Most of these will be in the Actors sub folder somewhwere in the MS Office folder. However a couple of them might have wandered off somewhere else.
Having done this he can sow the earth with salt by pruning all references to .ACT files from his registry. He will then be able to type "Dear Sir," without having to stamp on the paperclip.
On a more serious note it seems that Microsoft got the message. After applying SP2 and the Y2K pack to the administrative installation on a server I am now offered a choice as to whether to install the actor files. I don't recall previously having had this choice.
According to http://officeupdate.microsoft.com/2000/articles/WAutoFe.htm, it looks like you can turn off the automatic activation of the Letter Wizard in Word97 by right-clicking the Office assistant, clicking the Options tab, and clearing the "Use the Office Assistant" check box. I don't have that particular annoyance installed, so I can't verify that for you.
Most of the similar annoyances can be stopped by selecting "Tools", then "Autocorrect", then turning off the things you don't like (like the automatic creation of hypertext links when I enter a URL or a network path).
Calvin Dodge http://www.caldodge.fpcc.net
And that ought to DO it. Thanks.
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
I laughed when I read where you mentioned that, "I do get annoyed when it <MS Word 2000> pops up and says "I think you are trying to write a letter, want me to help?" and I don't seem to be able to tell it to stop making asinine suggestions. This happens just often enough to annoy without being so often that I have taken the time to find out what to do...".
I think the same damn thing when that happens. So, inspired, I poked around in MS Word and found where I think one can turn off this "help". For you and anyone else who might wish to turn off the help option which makes suggestions, here is what I believe will do the trick:
* While in Word you must (temporarily) turn back ON the Office Assistant. * Then, from the Menu bar: > Help > Show Office Assistant (Click/Select the Show Office Assistant option) . * Once the Office Assistant window pops up, click on 'Options'. With the tab for Options visible, deselect EVERYTHING up to and including "Use the Office Assistant". The result should be absolutely no help whatsoever.....from MS Word that is.
Hopefully, I got that right.
One last item if I may: I recently read your essay titled "HOW TO GET MY JOB", which I enjoyed. You mentioned Grammatik as now being part of Corel Office Professional 7 &; 8. Do you have any opinions on the quality of the grammar-checker which is part of MS Word 2000? I'm taking your advice on grammar-checking everything I write with word processors and since I use MS Word 2000, I wondered if you had any thoughts on the grammar checker Microsoft uses for Word. I'm also looking for a book on grammar if you or anyone else might have suggestions.
I haven't tried the grammar checker in Word but I expect it's all right. What you want to do is be able to write as close to the Skillin and Gay WORDS INTO TYPE standard as possible. You can then break the rules once you know them; but first be able to follow them. There's more in the essay.
What cplor is your parachute, Jerry?
= John Bartley, PC syadmin, Portland OR Views expressed herein are mine own. "We should call this Day One of Year One." RAH to Uncle Walter, 1969-07-20. See http://go.to/nt-2000 for a comprehensive review of NT defragmentation.
firstname.lastname@example.org; on behalf of; John E. Bartley, III [email@example.com]
Once again I need a translator. What in the world does any of this mean, and why would anyone send it to me? It's pretty good evidence that systems administrators have too much free time, I think.
May 17, 2000
Things got away from me.
May 18, 2000
The day was devoured by locusts, but here's short shrift:
Subject: Bad motherboards
Get yourself an Epox motherboard, Jerry. I've built eleven systems utilizing their MVP3C and MVP3G boards and have had no problems with any of them. EPOX tech support sucks, but I've never needed it. Haven't tried the boards that accommodate Pentium chips, but I've read reports that these are also great. Also, my own computer uses the MVP3G that I've had for 2 years--no problems. I've used FIC and Intel boards in the past with mixed results.
Dear Dr. Pournelle, Reading Microsofts pages and press statements I see that they still seem to hold to the Old Programmers War Cry of "It's not a bug, it's a feature!" Maybe so, but these features are getting dangerous. I've seen estimates of damage from ILUVYOU in excess of $1 billion.
I'm a programmer and I know to turn off 'Auto Preview' and similar things. I use IE 5 and Outlook at work, because I have to, and Netscape (on Linux) at home for security. With Linux, or any Unix variant for that matter, my system is generally safe from worms, virii, etc. unless I do something incredibly stupid such as reading e-mail while logged on as root. Not that I am immune to stupidity, but I try to control it. Windows evolved from a personal, non-networked system which needed no security, and thus has very little.
Many companies have insurance against data lossage. I fear that MS is leaving themselves open to something that could be just as bad as the anti-trust suit if they continue as they have. To wit, a number of lawsuits from insurance companies over Microsoft's lax security features. Yes, the EULA explicitly absolves Microsoft from these suits, but have EULAs been tested in court by someone with the deep pockets of the insurance companies? Microsoft being sued by insurance companies for several billions in losses, in several countries, could do severe damage.
Sincerely Kit Case firstname.lastname@example.org
You may not have seen it, but tonight ABC World News Tonight carried a story about the issue of using mercenaries in hot spots where the West doesn't want to risk its troops. I thought this was a timely story considering some of the discussions currently taking place on your site. The story specifically mentioned Sierra Leone and the Ethiopian/Eritrean border. Frederick Forsyth appeared in the story. I find it interesting that a nightly news program such as World News Tonight would not only pick up the story, but actually lean positively toward using mercenaries in such places.
BTW, is it just me, or has the nightly news deteriorated in quality the past few years? It seems that with the advent of the Internet, television news hasn't been the same. Now, Peter Jennings' job seems to be to entice his viewers to see the full story on abcnews.com once we've seen enough of the story to actually connect with it. Broadcast news reporting now seems to be degenerating into a series of ads for the organizations' web sites. As much as I use the 'Net for news and research, I'm uncertain I like this trend. I've watched the news practically every night since I was 10, and it ain't what is used to be.
John Alexander email@example.com http://bama.ua.edu/~johnalex
I suspect Executive Outcomes could have kept the peace in Sierra Leone and made a profit for less money than the UN spent. But the UN is, well, uh, the good guys?
I don't remember what documentation lists it, but the secret to NT 4.0 on an Intel CA810E is as follows:
1. Install NT, but defer network configuration. 2. Install drivers from Intel CD-ROM. 3. Configure network.
I will certainly agree, however, that install NT on a system with that motherboard is a pain!
Regards, John Prideaux
John Prideaux e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks. It's a pretty good board once you get it working, though.
Looks like you're right, in spades.
Why, I'm shocked, shocked... And see below.
When I have to clean a lot of keyboards I just put them in the dishwasher with no soap. The trick is to use very hot water and no cleaners which leave behind a residue. The hot water will evaporate quickly and leave behind a clean keyboard. Best is very hot distilled water.
Bill Chundak Systems Analyst Big Bear Mountain Resort (909) 584-0245 email@example.com
I have never had the nerve to try that. It ought to work, but I can't advise it...
Jerry, I am working on a large project that will require Database Engines running on over 1900 servers, with 9000 client workstations, and about 30,000 users. One of the possible software configurations is a Unix/Oracle solution, the other is a Windows 2000/SQL solution. In my research, I happened by the Oracle website to look up licensing issues (grant you, on a project this size, an Oracle rep will be working with me) and thought you might be interested in the hoops you have to jump through just to determine what you need. It's rather amazing (Note the title 'New Universal Power Units - Licensing Made Easy', that's Oracle's, not mine). Check out the Universal Power Unit Calculations, and then how they apply to Named Users. It's enough to make you cry, and this is the abbreviated definition. Tracy New Universal Power Units - Licensing Made Easy Licensing Unit Definitions (abbreviated) * Term Designations - For the complete and legal definitions, please refer to the Oracle License Agreement < http://store.oracle.com/cec/cstage?ecaction=ecpassthru&;template=license_def .en.htm > . * Perpetual: If your program license does not specify a term, it is perpetual and shall continue unless terminated as otherwise provided in the Agreement. * 4-Year Term: If your program license specifies a 4-year term, your program license shall commence on the effective date of the order and shall continue for a period of 4 years. At the end of the 4-year term, the program license shall terminate automatically. These licenses are priced at 60% of the product's perpetual list price (rounding rules apply). * 2-Year Term: If your program license specifies a 2-year term, your program license shall commence on the effective date of the order and shall continue for a period of 2 years. At the end of the 2-year term, the program license shall terminate automatically. These licenses are priced at 35% of the product's perpetual list price (rounding rules apply). * For Non-Trial Licenses - For the complete and legal set of definitions, please refer to the Oracle License Agreement < http://store.oracle.com/cec/cstage?ecaction=ecpassthru&;template=license_def .en.htm > . * Named User - Single Server: an individual authorized to use the Oracle program(s) on a single machine, regardless of whether the individual is actively using the program(s) at any given time. * Named User - Multi Server: an individual authorized to use the Oracle program(s) on multiple machines, regardless of whether the individual is actively using the program(s) at any given time. * Universal Power Unit: is defined as one unit of platform dependent processing power. To calculate the number of UPUs required for each Intel/CISC or Intel/CISC compatible processor, multiply the total number of MHz on each processor on which the programs are run by a factor of 1.0. To calculate the number of UPUs required for each RISC or RISC compatible processor (including Intel/RISC), multiply the total number of MHz on each processor on which the programs are run by a factor of 1.5. To calculate the number of UPUs required in a mainframe environment, multiply the total number of MIPS on which the programs are run by a factor of 24. The total number of UPUs is determined by adding together the number of UPUs for all computers. Click for more definitions. <http://store.oracle.com/cec/cstage?ecaction=ecpassthru&;template=license_def .en.htm> Universal Power Unit Calculation The total number of Universal Power Units (see above for definition of a Universal Power Unit) needed is calculated by taking the MHz on each processor and multiplying by the total number of processors running the programs in all such computers. The Universal Power Unit computation includes the number of relevant computers, processors, MHz of each such processor and the relevant platform factors (Intel/CISC 1.0, RISC 1.5, and Mainframe 24).
Example 1: You are licensing the Oracle8iEE for a computer which has 2 - 400MHz RISC processors. How many Universal Power Units do you need? (1 computer x 2 processors * 400MHz * 1.5 (RISC Factor) = 1,200 Universal Power Units for each program that you license for this computer.
Example 2: You are licensing Oracle8iEE for your entire environment - 4 Intel computers each with a 550MHz Intel processor; 1 computer with 8 - 400MHz RISC processors. How many Universal Power Units do you need? 4 computers x 1 processor x 500MHz x 1.0 (Intel Factor)=2,200 UPU 1 computer x 8 processors x 400MHz x 1.5 (RISC Factor)=4,800 UPU Total: 7,000 UPU
Example 3: You have a mainframe computer that has 200 MIPS and are licensing Oracle8iEE. How many Universal Power Units do you need? 1 computer x 200 MIPS x 24 (Mainframe Factor) = 4,800 UPUs are required
User Minimums For Oracle Database Products In general, user minimums apply to Oracle Database and Database Options. User minimums do not apply to certain products, including Oracle 8i Personal Edition, Oracle8i Lite and Oracle Development Tools. To ensure that you fully understand your license grant and have met the user minimum requirements, please review the user minimums with an Oracle sales representative. * For Named Users * Oracle8i Standard Edition and Rdb Standard Edition - The required minimum is an initial transaction minimum of 5 Named Users. * Oracle8i Enterprise Edition - The required minimum is 1 Named User for every 30 UPUs. If you are licensing by Named User, follow the instructions below to calculate the minimum number of named user licenses required for your intended hardware configuration. 1. Determine the number of MHz on each server. 2. Calculate the total number of UPUs for your intended hardware configuration (add up the MHz on all processors on all servers). 3. Divide the total number of UPUs by 30. 4. The resultant number represents the minimum number of Named User licenses required for your intended hardware configuration.
Example: For three computers each with two 400 MHz processors: 1. Number of MHz on each server = 800. (2 processors x 400 MHz processors = 800 MHz or UPUs per server) 2. Total number of UPUs = 2400. (3 computers x 800 MHz = 2400 UPUs) 3. Divide the total number of UPUs by 30 - the required minimum is 1 Named User for every 30 UPUs. (2400 UPUs / 30 = 80 named users) 4. For this hardware configuration containing 2400 UPUs/MHz, the minimum number of Named User licenses required is 80.
* For UPUs - If you are licensing by UPU, there is an initial transaction minimum of 200 UPUs. * For Options - Options must match the license level and number of users of the associated database licenses on a per server basis. * For Oracle CRM and ERP Applications To ensure that you fully understand your license grant and have met the user minimum requirements, please review the user minimums for Oracle CRM and ERP Applications with an Oracle sales representative. Licensing Restrictions * For Oracle Database Products (includes products listed under the Database and Tools tabs) * Oracle8i Standard Edition &; Rdb Standard Edition are restricted to certain hardware models. Check http://www.oracle.com/database/availability/ <http://www.oracle.com/database/availability/> for the approved models. * The number of database option licenses must match the number of database licenses on each computer on which they are installed. * Data Mart Suite and Data Mart Suite, Sales &; Marketing are limited to computers with a maximum of 4 processors. * Product Dependencies To ensure that you fully understand your license grant and have satisfied the product dependency requirements, please review the Product Dependencies with an Oracle sales representative
Which I think says all that needs saying...
Hello Jerry --
Just read that "Clippy" is a major security hole in Windows (http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2570727,00.html).
Good timing with the info on how to turn it off.
On an unrelated topic, the whole "Nuking the Moon" story sounds bogus. The story mentions that the device would be detonated on "the dark side" for maximum visibility. Anyone reading that should wince -- the moon doesn't have a dark side anymore than the earth does. Also, the person quoted states that there was concern that the face of the man on the moon would be destroyed. One device couldn't do that. The smallest feature visible to the naked eye is tens of miles across (rough calculation: 1 arc minute at 240000 miles is about 70 miles).
thanks for the interesting site,
There are many more problems with that story. I make no doubt that some general officer idiot was enamoured of the story, but can you imagine Eisenhower going for that? And see below.
The Microsoft Decision: consequences
The anti-tax group [National Taxpayers Union] estimates that, because Microsoft stock has plunged since the judge issued his verdict and the government proposed breaking up the company, public pension funds in eight of the states have lost $38.6 billion
I've no love for bureaucrats, but doesn't this strike you as a prime example of the Law of Unintended Consequences? Most public employees don't make very much money compared to the private sector (whether or not the vast majority of them deserve even as much as they get is another question), and it seems to me that the attorneys general of the various states who supported DoJ in the antitrust action ought to be roundly condemned, if not sued for malpractice, by those who've been adversely affected by this quixotic lawsuit.
------------------------ Roland Dobbins <firstname.lastname@example.org >
One of the surest signs of the philistine is his reverence for the superior tastes of those who put him down.
-- Pauline Kael
Precisely. Thanks. But of course acts of the government are not under the same rules as anyone else. "No wrong without a remedy" does not apply to Acts of State. Which is why the Framers wanted to keep Acts of State to a minimum. And can anyone really believe that Microsoft would be in this kind of trouble if Bill (Gates) had bought his nights from Bill (Clinton) at the Lincoln bedroom in the White House Hilton? Is there ANYONE who would argue that Gates could have bought out of his problems for $100 million or less in campaign funds?
Or that he and others have not learned that lesson? Campaign reform my eye: look for a storm of activity from big internationals now that the consequences of not playing the Washington game are so clear.
One of your readers raises and interesting point about Microsoft being sued by insurance companies for responsibility for damages when a user activates one of those virus attachments.
This begs the question as to how responsible the Unix manufacturors and Linux distribution producers are whose installations were used to host denial of service (DDoS) attacks? In Microsofts case the user has to "shoot" themself. In the DDoS situation the poor user doesn't have to do a thing except install the software.
I seem to remember it was a character in one of your novels (The Mote in God's Eye ?) that declared: ``The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.'' He must have been remembering the current click-to-propagate viruses.
- Stephen P. Schaefer, SysAdmin, attempting to make the world safe for stupidity
We optimists continue to believe that spacetime and grace are the more abundant ground in which the figures appear.
I hope you are well.
About your note "I have utterly failed in my attempts to make Windows 2000 Server work as a Primary Domain Server. "
(I'm sorry if I'm being pedantic here, but there are so many definitions of "domain" and "primary" and so forth in Windows networking that it's necessary to avoid confusion.)
Just to be clear, I believe the system you are calling a "Primary Domain Server" is what MS calls a "Primary Domain Controller", which is the computer in a "NT Domain" that contains the list of all the users and computers that belong to the NT domain. The "NT Domain" is what MS invented for what is usually called "Directory Services", which is a way of organising and managing systems and user accounts so users can login to more than one computer with a single login name and password.
A couple of things:
1) Windows 2000 Server "does" domains in a completely different way than Windows NT. This is called "Active Directory" and the naming scheme for this directory is based on DNS. The scheme in NT up to version 4.0 was called "Windows NT domains" and is based on NetBIOS names.
So the naming scheme in NT was not hierarchical, and every system had to have a different name which could be no longer than 15 characters. A server may be named CHAOSPDC or SAMMY. A username may be JERRY or JOHN, but you can have only one JERRY or JOHN or CHAOSPDC or SAMMY anywhere on your network.
In Active Directory, the naming scheme is built on a hierarchy of "domains" which are DNS domains like "jerrypournelle.com" or "internic.net", so you can have systems with the same name but in different domains. You could have a computer named "ThisisthecomputerIusetowritestuff" or "Fred" in the domain "upstairs.inthehouse.Chaosmanor.org", and you could have a different computer with the name "Fred" in a different domain and it would be OK.
Windows NT does not understand Active Directory, and NT systems can only be accessed within an Active Directory network in what is called "Mixed Mode", where you still have the old Windows NT domain controllers running along with the new Active Directory servers.
So it is not surprising that you had trouble with setting up Win2k server as a "Domain Controller", since it can only do that job for other Win2k systems and not NT systems. There may be a client for Win98 systems to see Active Directory, but there are apparently no plans by MS for an NT client.
Bottom line is that if you want to keep running NT systems, then keep an NT domain around with a "Prtimary Domain Controller" AND a "Backup Domain Controller" for NT systems. As you add Windows 2000 systems and when you want to examine Active Directory, install a Win2k server with Active Directory enabled and play with that. When you finally get rid of Windows NT, you can eliminate the PDC and BDC and that's it.
2) I was really surprised that you never had a "Backup Domain Controller" on your network with your "Primary Domain Controller" that failed. This is really a "standard practice" in Windows networking, and every time I've gone into a location where they don't have a BDC I've always told them to get one and fast.
It is recommended by MS in their training kits and I think also in the Resource Kit to ALWAYS have a BDC no matter how small your network. Personally, I agree with this since recovering a PDC with all the information current can be impossible with no BDC but with a BDC around, this is a really short and easy exercise!
John Sloan M.Sc. MCSE Technical Architect.
Thank you. This is more or less what Roland keeps telling me, also. So we will soon try to revive Fireball, which is the old PDC. It is VERY clear that unless one starts from scratch, migrating from an NT to a Windows 2000 server system needs thought but also needs the NT system to be working properly BEFORE you make the change. I have learned...
As to why no BDC, I plead stupidity. Actually each of us thought the other had set one of the other NT servers to be the PDC, and of course we never talked about it and anyway
"I do all these silly things so you won't have to..."
Mr. Pournelle: I had a similar problem to the one you describe at your Byte's column. It seems that win98 SE -unlike win95- shares IRQ between pci cards and don't think they are in conflict. I had a pci card sharing the irq with the primary ide controller. But in a little thought choice I tried to flash un upgrade to the bios, which went all wrong when the pc hanged up during the upgrade. I had to replace the motherboard. When I got the machine up again, and with the exactly same problem, removed the pci card and then defrag would run happy. A little experimenting proved that I can't set manually IRQ, which would be no problem if windows would understand what IRQs it should share and what not. Also IRQ may change with swapping a card at other slot, or by some obscure algorithm in windows. This could explain why reinstalling corrected the problem by reassigning IRQs.
Alejandro Dobniewski Buenos Aires Argentina
There are ways for reserving IRQ to an ISA slot, then, when the OS has done all the assignments, locking them in, and then releasing the reserved ones for assignment as you put in a new PCI card. It's a pain, but it can be done...
Thanks. Good to hear that we're being read down there.
Jerry, for firewall creation, see app 'mason' www.bikkel.org/Doc/OS/Unix/mason/index.html
for Linux. It is trivial to install and can be trivial to configure.
It has a 'learn mode' and when you start the firewall (mason) it is just wide open. With the learn mode enabled you pass things to/from the net. Things that you would do. When you have done those things, end the learn mode and the firewall will only pass those things that you have done during the 'learn mode'. There is a good write up with the package.
Configuring Linux to be a gateway, etc is another story.
Sorry for the short shrift on most of these. It's hectic here...
May 20, 2000
Another day of short shrift, I fear. But the letters pile up and they are interesting and if I wait until I can comment "properly" then I never get done...
Been following Chaos manor for years! Thanks for all your "User's Views" that have always been so helpful.
Regarding your recent trouble with defragging Win98, here are two tips I've found useful--to help prevent the continual "restarts" that plague Win98 defragging.
1) The BEST method is to place your WinSwap file on a disk other than C:. If you only have one drive and one partition, try Partition Magic to take some of the extra space from the top and create a D: partition of several hundred megs.
2) If you only have one disk in the machine, and choose not to add a second partition, then control the size manually, rather than letting Win98 automagically grow and shrink it. For example, set it to always be at least 200 MB. That should help--but not eliminate the restarts.
Indeed, and that's advice I have given for years, although using Partition Magic to create a separate partition isn't entirely trivial. But it's probably worth doing. For Windows 98 VOPT 98 is still the best one I know, but it can take FOREVER with really big drives. But then so will any other good defrag program. Big drives don't suffer from fragmentation as much as smaller ones, but when they do, it's a beast to clean up.
Turbo Prolog did not die, Borland gave it back to the original developers in Denmark. It is currently available as Visual Prolog.
I have it on a CD that came with the April 1999 issue of the British magazine PC Plus. It has version 5.1 of the personal version for Windows 9x/NT, OS/2, Win 3.1(!) and Linux. The documentation is in Word format.
The web site is www.pdc.dk - I could not find the price of the professional version on the site, you are not allowed to distribute executables made with the personal version, I believe that there is a banner that comes up when you run them. I'll have to play with this. I had forgotten that I had it. You can also download the program from the web site (about 20 Meg.)
I wondered what your thoughts are on the subject of the Dvorak Keyboard layout? Seems to be more efficient, at least according to its pundits. I've considered making the switch to Dvorak for efficiency and ergonomic reasons. This question also goes out to any of your readers.
I've told this story many times. I was marginally involved with the keyboard in that I worked with August Dvorak (PhD, Cdr USNR Ret) at the University of Washington in the 50's. It is more efficient, but you will never learn TWO keyboards, and switching from one to another will drive you mad. Two-finger typists don't care (it does nothing for them) and touch typists work much better with the Dvorak but have real problems faced with a conventional keyboard, which is ubiquitous. I doubt it has a real future.
I saw mention of the Dvorak keyboard in Chaos Manor Mail, and wish to add my own experience. I went to some expense and trouble to add a Keytronics Dvorak keyboard to one of my Texas Instruments Professional Computers back when that computer was current. I kept the QWERTY keyboard on the second one. The Keytronics keyboard was massive and comfortable, matching the solid construction of the computer. A poor touch typist, prone to looking at the keys, and switching between two types of keyboards, I probably received minimal benefit from the Dvorak layout.
The Keytronics Dvorak board had two limitations. It had no pause key, and I needed a tip from a magazine to find the right key (Ctrl-NumLock, I think). Also, these were the days of MS-Dos 3.3, available for the TIPC, and usable with a patch available in the Dallas area. MS-Dos programs tended to use key combinations for various control activities (Remember Word Star?), but these key combinations were worked out on a QWERTY keyboard. They were horrible on Dvorak. Nevertheless, I liked the Dvorak board and used it until it broke beyond repair (my fault, not the manufacturer). It was fun, interesting, and easy to use, but QWERTY keyboards have been cheap or free for years. I never bought a replacement.
William L. Jones, PE email@example.com
I know you just bought some keyboards, but I ran across this today. http://www.netseller.com/northkey.htm
I certainly like the feel of the old Northgates. Thanks! I seem to be well supplied with keyboards for a while...
Given your bad adventures with Real Networks, I thought you might be interested in the sole item in the 18 May Privacy Forum http://www.vortex.com/privacy/priv.09.15
Real is now packaging something called "Download Demon" with its downloads. Apparently the Download Demon silently installs itself as the default FTP agent in your browser(s). It then reports to Real the URL of every file you download.
Wade L. Scholine
I had heard something of this. Thanks.
And two more comments on nuking the moon...
I'm not carrying any briefs for the nuke-the-moon story. However, it should be pointed out that Len Reiffel has published his version of the story about Air Force Project A119 in the 4May2000 issue of the journal "Nature" (p. 13)--hardly the place to stake one's reputation on a speculation.
The "Nuking the Moon" story may have originated with a study the Soviets did very early in the space race called "Project E-4." The primary aim of the project was to prove to the whole world that a Soviet spacecraft had really reached the surface of the Moon by doing something (i.e. exploding a bomb) that could be observed by telescope from earth. The full story has been posted by space historian Sven Grahn at:
The Soviets rather quickly decided that the project was both too expensive and _way_ too risky (what if the booster doesn't work right?). Also, I suspect that it was soon realized that a simple radio beacon on the spacecraft would be enough to track a spacecraft all the way to the moon.
The idea of detonating a nuclear "flare" on the moon probably occured to someone in the US, but I doubt it was ever seriously studied. However, I do remember that in "Space Cadet" (written in the 1950s) the author apparently didn't know that radio works just fine over planetary distances. Somebody may not have thought that radio transmissions from the Moon could be picked up.
-- Tom Durrant
Given when this happened, I guess I would not necessarily have known about it; it was a few years later that I was involved with evaluating odd proposals and systems concepts and such like. But I still find it hard to believe that it got much above the brigadier level. Generals are not really stupid despite the stereotypes. Not THAT stupid.
View for Tue 16 May 2000 says, among other things, "Larry Aldridge of PC Power and Cooling, is very fond of the Tyan Trinity board. I have one in use and love it too."
But the Tyan site http://www.tyan.com/products/html/product_selection.html lists several boards in the Trinity family:
S2380 Trinity K7 -- Slot A for AMD Athlon
S1857 Trinity 371 -- Slot 1 for Pentium II/III -- has 3 submodels
S1854 Trinity 400 -- Slot 1 for Pentium II/III -- has 2 submodels
S1857 Trinity 371 -- Socket 370 for Celeron -- has 3 submodels
S1854 Trinity 400 -- Socket 370 for Celeron -- has 2 submodels
S1598 Trinity ATX -- Socket 7 -- has 2 submodels
Is it safe for readers to assume that Mr. Aldridge's enthusiasm, and yours, extends uniformly over all members of the Trinity family?
Or is there a way to find out which particular member(s) of the family you have used successfully?
Or am I just being a pain in the extreme lower back, by asking such a picky question?
Not unreasonable questions. I'd have to go look, but the one I am using has both super 7 and slot 1 so you can put in either a Celeron or a P-III; I've done both. It's doing a Windows 2000 Professional machine with a P-III of some hideous speed and all is well with it. Indeed.
I have been running Adaptec Easy CD Creator 4.0 on Windows 2000 Professional with no problems at all. I suggest you get the upgrade it is well worth it, the interface is improved and the performance is better than the 3.5 version
I am going to go back to WIN98 on my main machine as I am having too many problems getting drivers to work on my peripherals. Mustek does not have a Windows 2000 driver for my scanner. ATI's DVD rom driver for Windows 2000 has severe performance issues, and therre in no driver for the ATI TV Wonder card. All of my fun toys won't work on Windows 2000 so I'll have to take a step back.
Good Luck with the CD-RW Sofware
Thanks. I have been using 3.5 on Windows 98 (Mohican, a machine built to be the last W 98 machine but alas it will not be)...
I read your May 15, 2000, article regarding your problems with 'Squirrel', and offer the following suggestion concerning problems with 'defrag.exe' completing its work.
Ii'm sure you have considered this alternative, but thought your many readers might benefit from this alternative solution, to be used before the reinstallation of Win98 SE.
I made the following change to C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM.INI:
Original SYSTEM.INI: ..... [boot] Shell=explorer.exe ..... ========================================
Revised SYSTEM.INI: ..... [boot] ; Next line is default per original Win98 installation shell=explorer.exe ; This line is to be substituted when running DeFrag only ; shell=defrag.exe ..... ========================================
When I want to run DEFRAG.EXE, I simply open up system.ini, put the [;] before 'shell=explorer.exe' and Remove the [;] from the line 'shell=defrag.exe'.
Then I reboot Win98 SE and when it loads, the only Win98 program running is defrag.exe, and it runs without Interference until completion. I have never had it fail to complete.
When it is completed, I then reboot, and during reboot, exit to a command prompt, and then restore SYSTEM.INI to the original state, by deleting the [;] from the 'explorer' line, and restoring the [;] to the 'defrag' line. I then reboot a final time.
Having said this, I also have had problems over a long period of time and came to the same conclusion that you did -- to reinstall Win98 SE -- which seems to clear up the major problems. It is too bad that Microsoft can't write the software in such a manner to avoid this continuing problem.
I tried Win2000 Professional, and it seemed much better with regard to these type of problems, but later reinstalled Win98 WE for the same reasons you mention -- the difficulty in using CD-RW CDRom's. I am using a HP 8200e external USB drive, and after many delays and missed deadlines, I now note that their web site says my drive is now considered 'compatible' with Win2000, without any driver modifications -- so I will install it again and try it to see if it works.
Thanks for your many interesting articles in BYTE Magazine in the past. I am glad that you are continuing on the web!
Joseph L. Fribley Retired Circuit Judge State of Illinois
An user from Autrslia told me about your 'User's Choice Award' for IrfanView.
Thank you very very much! :-)
The current IrfanView version is 3.17
Greetings, Gruesse, Pozdrav,
Irfan Skiljan, EMail: firstname.lastname@example.org Author of IrfanView, FREEWARE image viewer for Win9x, WinNT and Win2K On Internet: http://www.irfanview.com
"Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto" = "I am human, therefore nothing human is strange to me."
Great program. Everyone ought to know about it.
21 May 2000
Subject: OH MY GOD!
Just look at this: http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/news/1634980
I didn't think I was subject to future shock. Wrong!
Meanwhile, Michael Dobbs of the Washington Post has a very good story on the alleged No Gun Ri massacre, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/print/sunday/outlook/A42214-2000May20.html
The question may not be nearly as settled as U.S. News wanted to make it. A good caution for those probing history.
Best, St. Onge
I never had much faith in the No Gun Ri story. The cloning article is amazing. If you can clone organs that will include glands, I presume. The implications are interesting.
I had heard about the Naktong bridge incident, and I can easily imagine it happening to me or anyone else: at a time certain that bridge goes, people are told that, and if they won't stop trying to cross on it, then it's still fire in the hole; if the NKPA gets across that bridge it's all she wrote for anyone.
I have also heard stories of refugees being shot down for getting too close to troops: since infiltration of refugees was an NKPA trick used with some success to kill US troops, the commander has a dilemma, and I don't envy soldiers in that situation.
But I had never heard any stories of shooting people at a distance simply because they were there, and Bailey's story never made a lot of sense to me. It may have happened, but if so my guess is it was by scared troops, not on orders. I know some of the officers faced with the problem of refugees not keeping enough distance. Their obligation was to their own troops. I know they fired warning shots. I never asked if they did more than that. On retreats when refugees clog the roads and the enemy infiltrates the refugee columns with murder in mind, it is not easy being the commander.
From: Oleg Panczenko email@example.com
Subject: Re: An astonishing story about cloning in mail
Dear Dr Pournelle:
The photograph of the mouse with a human ear apparently growing from its back, which accompanies the story at http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/news/1634980 , dates from 1995 October and is not an illustration of cloning as stated in the article.
A polyester matrix in the shape of a human ear was seeded with human chondrocytes (cells which produce cartilage) and implanted subcutaneously in the back of a nude mouse. After a few weeks, the result is cartilage in the desired shape.
This "mouse with three ears" was a demonstration of fairly "old hat" techniques by Dr. Charles Vacanti, of the Center for Tissue Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. and Dr. Linda Griffith-Cima (now Dr Linda G. Griffith), assistant professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
I was unable to find a cite to an authoritative account of the work on the web. The best I can do is point readers to Anastasia Toufexis, "Science: An Early Tale: A Bizarre Creature Shows A New Way To Replace Organs", Time, 19995-11-06, pp 60. For a view of the uncropped photo, access http://www.elibrary.com and search for the phrase "Mouse With Human Ear Grafted to Back". Select the link to Reuters Toppix News and Sports, 1995-10-25. Note that the caption is misleading.
This picture is being used by environmental groups in their campaign against genetically engineering. See Steven Milloy, "The Green's Ear-ie Ad Groups Use Scare Tactics to Fight Technology" at http://www.junkscience.com/dec99/earie.htm .
Yes, I thought most familiar with the "3 ear picture" but New Scientist has been known to jazz up otherwise straight stories with odd illustrations. I know no more about any of this than what you see...
Prolog is definitely alive, if not well; I'll be learning it next semester as part of KXA234 Objects and Algorithms at the University of Tasmania. Most likely we'll be using the GNU compiler. (We also used the GNU command line compilers while learning C++ and C.)
As for that cloning story, I'm inclined to believe that it's a complete fabrication. I can't PROVE it, but I'll certainly give the probability of it being true as in the region of 0.00-0.01.
Michael Horton Tasmania Australia
Subject: Clowning on Cloning...
Interesting "cloning" article... I have yet to track down the exact episode, but that "ear" on the mouse snap was something I saw on a Nova (or some other PBS show) episode some years ago, in a slightly different context.
That particular show was about reconstructive surgery or just plain old cutting edge medicine, I think, and they were experimenting with materials that could be used to replace cartilage as a tissue framework. Needless to say, such materials need implant testing on animals - that's what we're seeing in that shot.
Unfortunately, that link is just another collection of buzzwords, actual events and outright lies.
After a little spelunking through the PBS site, and related explorations on Google, it's possible that the following extract from the MIT site is related to what I remember seeing (found at http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/tt//1997/may21/43660.html)
"Her research actually began with efforts to make an artificial ear for children either born without an ear lobe or who injured it after birth. She and her colleagues were able to devise an intricate biodegradable polymer scaffold using 3-D printing techniques to put cartilage cells onto the scaffold material. The cartilage cells grew to fill in the scaffold and form what looked like a human ear. The 3-D printing process, which builds up the polymer base and adds donor cells layer by layer, can be used to build up very fine internal structures as well."
-- Brian P. Bilbrey firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.orbdesigns.com
Dear Dr. Pournelle;
One might consider the source on the organ cloning story. The "News Of The World" is not considered a journal of record in Britain - rather, more of a scandal sheet and light entertainment source. This, at least, is my understanding, though it may have changed in recent years. A US equivalent might be the "National Enquirer" or something of that order.
Hal Frank DI
which probably says all that needs saying.
A while ago I bought a Creative 6424 CD-RW. It came with 2 software programs. A writer and a re-writer. The former made by Nero and the latter made by Prassi. It all worked very well in W95. In fact I found that these programs were "better" than the Adaptec 4.x I had been using with my old Plextor CD-R.
I then moved on to W2000. I must be one of the few persons that have had no problems installing and working with this OS. The applications that I use, mostly graphics and some office stuff along with various peripherals, all work very well here.
Except the Prassi packet writing software. I anticipated that it might take some time for various companies to market drivers for the new Windows. I tried to contact Prassi unsuccessfully a number of times. 4 voice messages were not returned and a number of emails met the same fate. I began to wonder if the company actually existed.
So I went to the Creative web site. They had a link to W2000 driver availability for their products. Early this year it said that the Prassi software would be available in April. Then it was July. Now it is TBA. Unfortunately emails to Creative are also not answered.
I do not want the above to sound like a rant. It is just that your readers should be aware that Creative's CD-RW products do not work in W2000.
Cheers, Peter Durand
Ah. So they'll have them Real Soon Now... See also next week's mail