THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
View 504 February 4 - 10, 2008
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This is a Day Book. Pages are in chronological, not blogological order.
February 4, 2008
It's 6 AM, and I ought to get back to sleep. It wasn't a great night. I did get the Chaos Manor Reviews Mailbag and Column done, and they should be posted fairly soon. I wrote both using the iMac 20, and some of that experience is in the column.
I have plenty of mail telling me how to rename the iMac. Thanks.
Now I'll try to get a morning nap.
The day was more or less devoured by locusts.
Tomorrow is the big Primary Day, in which McCain will get a lot more votes from Democrats and Independents, and carry in the primary some states that never vote Republican. Up to this point 2/3 of all the Republicans who have voted in primaries have voted against McCain, but he is the front runner.
This is a very odd way for a party to select a nominee.
That article sums it up nicely. The United States was not defeated in Viet Nam, but in the American media and in Congress. Those who would understand history much understand that.
|This week:||Tuesday, February
Super Tuesday: Primary Day
Prediction or nightmare? The results of today will be 40% to McCain, 35% to Romney, and 25% to Huckabee. McCain will become front runner or even the nominee. It's a very strange way for a party to select a nominee.
Actually, I have no way of knowing what will happen, but the above isn't impossible or even terribly unlikely. Add in Ron Paul, so that it goes 35% to McCain, 30% Romney, 20% Huckabee, and 15% Paul, and the resulting "win" by McCain will be even less meaningful.
McCain is running border hawk advertisements in California. This eagerness to close off and safeguard the borders is new found on his part. It will be interesting to see what results that will get.
Fourth undersea cable cut near UAE, suspicions rise
I was fortunate enough to serve on the CENTCOM staff from June of 03 to October 05. I did five months at FWD HQ in Qatar. I have a friend who is still over in Qatar. We e-mail back and forth to keep in touch. He has been unable to receive personal e-mail for several days now.
"Netcentric warfare" seems to be a multi-player game now.
"One of the paradoxes of our times is that the more that formal political life is emptied of meaning, the more that fairly trivial areas of life become politicised." Frank Furedi
"When will politicians realise that George Orwell's 1984 was a warning, not an instruction manual?'- Derek Clark, Member, European Parliament.
All of which is fascinating. Once is unfortunate. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action. Four times?
Installing new stuff on the Mac today. The disk access is a bit slower than I am used to with my Windows machines, but it all goes well.
Voted today. I very nearly voted for Mr. Thompson, who was still on the ballot, but sanity prevailed. I do wish I thought enough others would do that to bring him back in. We don't NEED a President with "fire in the belly" over becoming President. Indeed, as I have said, anyone willing to do what it takes to become President probably ought not have the job. I understand Greenspan has in mind a Constitutional Amendment to that effect. Maybe Mr. Romney will pick Thompson for VP?
Someone sent me a link to this: http://www.geocities.com/evilsnack/cliche.htm
Which looks to me like someone has entirely too much time on his hands...
February 6, 2008
We are off for our morning walk. When we get back I go down to get holes bored in me (it's called a bone marrow biopsy) and I have no idea what shape I will be in when that's done.
I'll have comments on yesterday's elections later this week. Meanwhile:
February 7, 2008
Yesterday was exhausting. They bored holes in my hip, bled me of 8 small bottles of blood for tests (probably capturing at least two of my 23 remaining corpuscles), and did a full body X-Ray. Then Alex came over for dinner, we went to Ash Wednesday services, and my brain wanted nothing more than vegetation. My favorite form of vegetation is quests about two levels lower than my World of Warcraft character. I took the opportunity to gain a level or so for one of my minor characters, not wanting to use the concentration to keep my level 60 Paladin slugging away on his epic quest.
Today I'm a bit sore in the hip, but otherwise in pretty good shape. We don't have interpretations of yesterday's tests, but the big CAT scan showed nothing anomalous in the rest of me. Whatever my problems, it's apparently all in my head. I don't expect that to astonish anyone.
Romney has 'suspended' his campaign, meaning that he's out. Thompson didn't lust after the Presidency -- he actually refused to spend all his time grubbing for money from strangers! -- and withdrew gracefully when it was clear that the Conservative Movement is better at condemning than at getting together to back someone. Romney did lust after the job, and threw a lot of his own money into it, but he didn't get a lot further. McCain, who REALLY lusts after the job, is now pretty well the clear winner.
McCain is speaking to the American Conservative Union annual meeting in DC. I used to go to those when Possony was on its Board, but that was a long time ago. I am told that the attendees have been warned not to boo and hiss when McCain speaks.
McCain has an 80% lifetime ACU rating. Unfortunately, the 20% includes McCain Feingold, an assault on the First Amendment as well as an assault on party responsibility; the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" i.e. amnesty attempt; and strong opposition to the Bush tax cuts AKA supply side economics. In his defense, McCain is no longer so enthusiastic about his "campaign reform" package, having experienced some of the more horrid "unintended" consequences. He has now seen the light on immigration and promises to build the fence and secure the border and deport criminals before attempting "comprehensive immigration reform" (i.e. submitting to the invasion of the United States by more than 10 million illegal aliens; and now he would make the tax cuts permanent.
He would say this is a sign of his ability to learn and change. He says that while treating his conservative opponents like children with a tantrum. "Can't we all just calm down?"
Having lived through the Rockefeller Country Club Republican days and championed Goldwater, I've seen much of this before.
Me, I am going to wait and see what McCain does. He is a war hero. He does have the approval of the Legions. He has shown an ability to learn something from his mistakes. Although humility is not one of the lessons he can absorb, he does change his positions in the face of overwhelming evidence that they were dead wrong.
Alas, sometimes that works out badly. McCain Feingold, one of his obsessions, is very likely the result of his disgust with his involvement in the Lincoln Savings fiasco: he was out to Make Amends, Big Time, and thought this would do it. Now he knows better, but he doesn't know what he ought to have done. (The best Campaign Reform I can think of would be full disclosure with felony charges for violation, and limiting contributions to individuals but allowing anyone to donate anything they like to the Parties (with full disclosure)). It has long been known by political scientists that nothing will stop wealthy people from spending their money on political campaigns; no laws will ever be binding enough to do that. The remedy is full disclosure. That is enforceable.
McCain has seen that the tax cuts brought in enormous revenue. Supply side works. One hopes that McCain has learned that (although he says he is ignorant of economics, which is certainly true).
And while I doubt that his sentiments on immigration have changed, he has said he will defer to the wishes of the Party and the nation. He is said to be a man of his word. Certainly those who would call him a squish -- for example some of the silly little neo-cons who have never faced anything more difficult than deciding whether to be independent and not go to Starbucks -- the rest of us can admire his determination. Squish he is not.
Me, I'm going to wait and see.
I am busily installing Windows XP on the iMac. I am told that I should start with doing it in BootCamp (allowing me to boot the Mac into Windows XP, a near sacrilege) so that it will then be easier to install XP under VMWARE and let me run XP and its applications as a Mac App. If all this seems complicated, it does to me, too.
At the moment I am relearning things about ISO images that I didn't really ever want to know in the first place. I am hoping that the Mac understands these things: I have dragged an ISO image file to a blank CD inserted in the Mac. It burned, but I do not know if that is actually an ISO image file. Sigh. I'll learn these things, and after that I can tell you.
My thanks to all of you who have sent your prayers and best wishes.
I seem to find myself subject to fits of irrational rage. Not so easily controlled. Not a pleasant situation to be in. Fortunately they tend to be over fast.
February 8, 2008
I woke up able to talk, which is surprising, since the night didn't start well. I am about to go out for my morning walk, but when I get back I may throw together the camcorder and fling the junk on my desk into a box and see if I can do a short podcast while I can still talk. We'll see.
I have not been following the Flight 43 memorial controversy. Indeed, I didn't know until today that there was a controversy.
I know nothing more about this. Could it be a case of political correctness gone mad? "Artistic integrity" leading to cultural treason is not rare. Is that what is happening here?
Robert Bruce Thompson on the tax "rebates"
Peter Glaskowsky notes:
Pretty awful is a mild understatement; it's bad reporting. But the situation should not surprise anyone. A government running a deficit has no money to "rebate"; it has to borrow the "rebate" money, and that means it must collect it back along with the interest it cost to borrow it. Why be astonished?
Economic "stimulus" packages are fairly silly to begin with. It's warmed over Keynes: fill jars with money and bury them, and pay people to go dig them up. The point is not economically useful activity, but "found money" that will soon be spent, not saved. Savings are the enemy of a booming economy.
In the US the problems are two-fold. First the housing bubble, caused by government pumping money out and financial rulings that allow lenders to sell off shaky loans packaged with sound ones. The intention was to make it easier for people to own homes; the result was the inevitable bubble. Another result was to put temptation in the way of people who would not normally be thieves. If you allow someone to loan money with no consequences for making bad loans, and pay them according to the number of loans they make, then you have put enormous temptation in their path; and this is not an age of Saints (although, I hear to my delight, that Bishop Fulton J. Sheen is being considered for Sainthood).
Unrestricted capitalism will always head for the bottom: those restrained by ethics and good taste or even a decent regard for others will be at an enormous disadvantage. Unreconstructed Scrooge will always be on top. This makes for the most efficient allocation of economic resources, but it does not make for a lovely country; even those profiting from all this will not find their country lovely.
Burke had much to say on this subject, most of which has been forgotten.
The other problem with the US economy is that we have exported most of the jobs for those on the left hand side of the bell curve. Those were mostly manufacturing jobs. I can recall a time when you could see lofts full of sewing machines in downtown LA. The people who operated those are not likely to get jobs selling insurance or underwriting or being stockbrokers.
So we turn to a stimulus package.
The government is broke. We must borrow the money before we can send it back to the taxpayers. Why is anyone astonished that if we don't have the money, we will have to recover what we "rebate" to people (many to most of whom didn't pay that much in taxes in the first place). If the government can recover any of this "rebate" money, more power to them.
NOTE: READ ALL OF this, and read the column at Chaos Manor Reviews, before you send me email. This is a DAY BOOK, and these are notes taken while I was working the problem. The final conclusion to the story (INCLUDING THE HAPPY ENDING) will be at Chaos Manor Reviews.
I no longer need advice or help on this matter. My thanks to all those who did send advice and help. We now resume our regular daybook notes.
I am beginning to hate Macs. I cannot empty the trash. I get a message saying that "Send to" is blocked. To empty everything in the trash including locked items press the option key while selecting Empty Trash. Needless to say I have pressed the option key until I am blue in the face. It won't empty the trash.
I am stuck with about 50 GB of junk in the trash, taking up room on my hard disk. I have wasted half an hour on this. Clearly there must be some way around this mess but I sure as hell cannot figure it out.
It was probably my fault for using the Mac to delete about 50 GB of old backup files on the Seagate firewire external disk I was going to use for Time Machine. I should have used Windows to clean off that disk. Alas, I tried to delete the files on the Mac, and moving them to the trash was the way to do that.
Well, they are now permanently in the trash, taking up 50 GB of space, and NOTHING I can do will get rid of them. I may have to buy a new hard drive for the Mac to recover that space. This is not a good way to have an operating system. I hate it.
If I could get anything OUT of the trash, I could try deleting what is left, and get rid of this junk a little at a time, perhaps; but I can't get anything OUT of the trash. Is there anything that will let me extract files from the trash to another folder without leaving a ghost of those files in the trash?
--- All right, I see I can MOVE stuff by doing Command Key - drag. So I will MOVE everything out of the trash to a FOO file folder, then start moving things one folder at a time to the trash and see if I can empty them. This may take all day. MACS are blooking SLOW about moving files. I suppose you get used to that?
IS THERE A UNIX COMMAND that will empty the trash? It really is trash. I really want it gone. I don't care if Send To is locked or whatever it says. I just want to get rid of the trash and not have to buy a new hard drive so that I can have the full capacity of the drive.
I really truly hate this.
NOW I CANNOT MOVE SOME OF THE ITEMS from the trash to the foo folder. I do not have sufficient privileges!!! The MAC is protecting me from deleting old Windows backup files. I don't have sufficient privileges. This may be the stupidest operating system yet with the possible exception of Vista.
It will take about an hour to move the "Norton Backups" Folder from the Trash to a Foo folder. Since it took 20 minutes to move Documents and Settings from Trash to the Foo folder, and then I was told I didn't have sufficient privileges to do that, I do not intend to invest an hour in that. Incidentally, when I tried to get the Documents and Settings folder out of the Foo folder it made ANOTHER huge folder in the Unemptiable Trash.
Apparently I really will have to get the hard drive replaced to have a full 500 GB drive on the Mac, since it will not allow me to get rid of 50 GB of trash. This must be stupidity on stilts. Why does it tell me to use the OPTION key when that doesn't work? And HOW can I not have enough privileges?
I need a UNIX guru to fix this. Hmm. I recall back in the 80's saying that UNIX would never be the operating system for the rest of us because it would require a guru on call to make it useful. Apparently I was right. Apple OS X still needs a guru to be workable.
OK, UNIX Guru's have come to the rescue. Sort of. But I have a bunch of items in the Trash directory that the command line terminal reports
Operation not permitted.
Repeating the rm command doesn't even get that message. I wonder if restarting the system will help? Or pulling the plug?
Captain Morse reminds me that this is UNIX and restarting almost never works.
Mac fanatic Tim Loeb says I should pull the plug on the external drive. That worked. It had consequences. My current status is
This is all grist for the column where it will be a lot smoother and less emotional, but one conclusion is obvious: Aunt Minnie had better have a smart nephew to advise her. Tim Loeb suggests this is all operator error; which is technically true, but I did nothing that was silly, and pulling the plug on the external drive was on his advice. It's significant that 6 UNIX gurus including Dan Spisak worked on UNIX commands for me to use but only one, Loeb, understood that the real problem was that the Mac didn't move any files to the trash at all; it merely moved POINTERS to those files to the trash. Emptying the trash didn't work. Even the UNIX terminal commands didn't work. Only pulling that plug to the external drive worked to allow me to empty the trash on the INTERNAL hard drive. This is very counter intuitive.
I will ponder on this before writing it up for the column. I am sure that by now my mail has advice on which format to use for the hard drive.
Macs are great if you're me, with access to lots of advisors. I am not so sure about Aunt Minnie. But all is now well, and Time Machine is doing its thing automagically. We have a happy ending. Now I have to go out while Time Machine runs its backup.
Japan's space agency planning space-based solar power arrays
I guess the Japanese-language version of your column has more influence than you knew.
Tim of Angle
February 9, 2008
The day was spent working on the column to be posted next week. It's all about the iMac and getting used to it. All the work was done on the Mac.
Alex and Richard were over to crawl around in the attic to see where the leaks are, the last storm having produced some ceiling damage. Turns out the shower in my office suite is leaking at the drain. That's going to have to be fixed, which means I had better get busy turning out some words. Of course I've been turning out words...
They also cleared out a lot of old stuff including a set of speakers I bought from DAK (Drew A. Kaplan) a very long time ago, stored away, and never opened. I have no idea why I bought them, or why they were never installed having been bought. There's a lot of other stuff from the 80's, including a lot of magazines and newsletters, all just so much clutter.
Now I'm ginning out the week's mailbag. That leaves Monday clear for going to the Monk's cell to work on Mamelukes.
More Mac complaints.
(ONCE AGAIN read ALL of this before replying! The problem is solved...)
Word for the Mac has got into some strange mode in which the scroll wheel no longer works. Instead, when I left click text jumps around. In Windows when Word gets screwy the ESCAPE key sets things back to where they ought to be. Clearly that doesn't work with the Mac version and I cannot figure out how to make this work.
It is unusable for writing so long as it is in this mode. I wonder is shutting down and restarting will bring things back up?
I can find no HELP on this, of course. I am sure there is some obvious thing that Mac users understand, but I am bewildered.
Sean Long says:
Your weird mouse behavior sounds like what happens to me when I depress-click my scroll wheel in windows… It sure makes things screwy. After the initial confusion, I usually end up figuring out that I have to depress the scroll wheel again.
On the mac… Maybe you pressed both left and right sides at the same time you scrolled the wheel…?
In any case, you might want to see if you can figure out how to get a map or decoder ring for the various mouse modes, just in case.
Which may be the explanation; in any event the problem vanished as mysteriously as it appeared. I no longer get horizontal scrolls when I did not want them, and the vertical scroll works as expected.
I suppose I should get used to minor glitches. I've had them in Windows for decades, and learned to live with them...
= = = = = = = =
February 10, 2009
February 11: I have more medical appointments. I'll be back this evening to update this page. Meanwhile. there's a new mailbag at Chaos Manor Reviews..
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