THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 589 September 21 - 27, 2009
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September 21, 2009
This one is close to home since I have several friends who adopted daughters from China. In every case I know of, all has gone well, and the children and adoptive parents are happy, proud, and pleased.
I saw the story before breakfast in my Sunday morning paper; I hadn't read it on line yet. In brief, some Chinese officials kidnapped children who were then put up for adoption by foreigners, particularly Americans. The incentive was to collect the adoption fees.
It's horrifying but not astonishing. Such actions are predictable from Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy. Wherever government has scope you will find abuse. That will be particularly true in societies where moral structures are weak or lacking. Bureaucrats saw an opportunity to make profits for both themselves and their institutions; it should not be astonishing that they took those opportunities. That doesn't make it less heartbreaking for the parents who lost their children, or less horrifying for the adopting parents.
We can hope that nothing much will come of this story. That would be best for all, but it may be too much to hope for. There will already be an army of lawyers looking to find ways to profit from this; I am sure that at least a dozen are even as I write this scouring adoption records, looking for any hint of a way to shake down the American parents who in good faith adopted what they believed to be unwanted children. In most cases that's exactly what happened, of course. Many of the children certainly were voluntarily given up for adoption. Alas, some were not, and the existence of a few cases of fraud and worse will cause speculation about all the adoptions from China. I very much fear that somewhere out there is a lawyer thinking of ways to harass adoptive parents in hopes they will pay him to go away. Depend on it.
Americans ought to be able to count on their government to defend them in these cases. Alas, "ought to" no longer translates into anything like certainty.
Roberta got another attack today. No contamination. She shut down her machine rather than take any risks whatever. The attack came through a link in an article she was reading. The article was legitimate, but apparently one of the links had been hacked.
Let me repeat my earlier warning: if you see one of those messages, do not try to close it. Clicking ANYWHERE including on the little red X in the upper right corner of the message will start the download of the payload which is not an anti-virus program but malware. Instead, use task manager to close the browser, and if you don't know how to do that safely, just turn the machine off and reboot it.
I once called him the sanest man in America. It's not that I agreed with everything he said or wrote, far from it, but he was a man of rational thought. He rethought some of the neo-conservative positions after the Cold War ended. Of course he never broke with the movement he founded, but he did question some if its later policies.
His journal Public Interest was a beacon of sound thinking at a time when America needed it.
President Obama's health care plan includes an enormous tax
increase, but he doesn't call it a tax. There's a discussion with
considerable quotes from the President's interview with George
Stephanopoulos Sunday. It's quite revealing.
The interview is revealing; indeed, astonishing. I will let you draw your own conclusions regarding Obama's abilities to operate without a teleprompter. (I am presuming he doesn't have a teleprompter; I can't believe an intelligent staffer was feeding him these responses.)
The President established this point: If it's for your own good, it's not a tax increase.
Apparently Obama believes that this admission will help his campaign for the health care bill. He certainly wasn't trapped into saying this. He chose to conduct these very revealing interviews; and they were revealing indeed.
His view is that the state has every right to require you to buy health insurance, and thus it is not a tax. It is not a tax, and thus he is not breaking his oath not to raise taxes on the middle class. He is merely requiring you to act in your own interest. Now I can think of quite a few things that authority may believe to be for our own good and therefore we ought to pay for. I make no doubt we will see many of them proposed in the near future.
The notion of individual responsibility, and what we used to call freedom, seems far away. Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.
I discovered I have 84 open FireFox tabs, so I am closing some. If you haven't seen
and you are interested in the Global Warming debate, it's worth reading and not unduly polemical. The question is, with that much money at stake, does science as science have a chance?
We have a sunspot! It is the first in a while. It's still a quiet Sun. http://www.solarcycle24.com/
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|This week:||Tuesday, September
The "Net Neutrality" debate may actually eclipse the health care debate this week. Many think there is nothing to debate: surely we are all for net neutrality? I have always questioned this. Many of those who want "net neutrality" are really interested in unlimited ability to download enormous files without having to pay for the increased bandwidth use.
I for one would not want my email to run slowly because my teenage neighbor is downloading the latest pornography while my more senior neighbors are using Hulu to escape paying the cable company for premium services.
Now I have nothing against safeguarding freedom of access including freedom of posting. The current system more or less does this: most ISP's have an informal limit on the amount of data you can move on the Internet. Exceed it and they slow you down. Making that limit formal, and having a schedule of fees, may make sense, although I haven't heard any credible claims of arbitrary discrimination on a basis of content. I fear, though, that whatever rules come out of FCC/Congress will end up protecting pornography and piracy at the cost of the rest of us.
The demand for a free good is infinite. If we get legalized net neutrality with enforcement, we may well find this out. The people of America get the government they want and they get it good and hard.
I originally intended this for Mail, but I wrote such a long reply that I have put it here.
"In May 2009, Kim's daughter Stephanie graduated from
the University of Southern California (USC) with dual STEM degrees. (U.S.
News ranks USC Engineering school 7th in the nation <http://grad-schools.usnews.
"M.S. Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering" "B.S. Civil Engineering, Building Science (Architectural Engineering)" "National Honor Societies: Chi Epsilon, Tau Beta Pi, Mortar Board (Webmaster), Phi Kappa Phi" "GPA: 3.840"
"In spite of a diligent search for work through the summer, she - along with many of her USC classmates - is unable to find a job...."
And almost $100k in student loans for this, proceeds paid to an "Institution" that has done nothing to oppose H1B and doubtless supports most or all aspects of "immigration". Further comment unnecessary.
ps In case any Chaos Manor readers are situated to act, the young lady's job resume is here:
The student loan programs encourage people to go to expensive colleges. The colleges and universities will absorb as much money as is available; they don't compete on price, and the public institutions now use loans to finance their increasing prices. Despite new technologies, college costs never go down. Never. Most public institutions now charge what private colleges used to charge, and demand ever higher rates. There is never a demand to restrict enrollment thus cutting costs.
The Public Interest in state supported universities was that low cost education -- ideally free to state residents, which it was for a very long time in our history -- was a good investment for the state. Now there is no justification for spending that kind of tax money, and the middle class is being destroyed: citizens graduate with a lifetime of debts. Next year the government will take over the entire student loan program.
Of course the universities will not lower their costs and fees; so long as money is available they will absorb it. California had at one time a Master Plan: the Universities would do research and admit some undergraduates, but would mostly be institutions for advanced degrees. The State Colleges would not give advanced degrees but instead concentrate on undergraduate education. That of course did not survive faculty associations, and all the States Colleges are now State Universities, and in most cases detest undergraduate education even more than the University of California which isn't supposed to like undergraduates. Of course both need undergraduates to justify their state support from tax money.
This attitude is similar to the city of LA which is now whining that it will have to lay off police and fire people; the assumption is that the cubicle workers (also subject to some layoffs) are as valuable and necessary and justified in tax support as the fire and police and sanitation and water technical people. There is not even a pretense of looking at what city "programs" might be eliminated. When I was Deputy Mayor in LA we had 81 civil service exempt -- ie political -- city employees (I was one of them). There are now more than 600. There has never been a suggestion of cutting back on those, as there is no suggestion of cutting back on the civil service payroll.
The US system of tax supported higher education is never subject to any cost/effectiveness review. The story above is about a private university, and thus not properly subject to this tirade; the young lady thought it was worth acquiring lifetime debts in order to have a prestigious degree, and perhaps so: USC produces good engineers and other technical professionals (my late dentist, and his successor, were USC graduates and the present one is a former professor there). I don't mean to dump on USC, nor on the undergraduate programs of the University of California at Los Angeles for that matter. I do think it is time to reassess the cost/effectiveness of the higher education system, both nationwide and in California. What do we need from them? Are we getting it? Is there any way to cut the costs? I suspect that if the public higher education system had less money it would survive and have to cut costs. If it then charged less, the competition would be beneficial for the private universities.
In a rational world, we would not expect more than 10% of the population to benefit from a four year college education. In a rational political world we might expand that to 15% to include not only necessary technical and science education -- pre-med, engineering, physics, computer science, chemistry, the growing biological sciences. Of course in a rational society we would not give public support to growing numbers of voodoo science undergraduates. I won't comment on the public need to support ethnic and women's studies departments with taxpayer money.
First the costs. There is an interesting article on costs
in today's paper. Of considerable interest to me is
Medicare Advantage is the plan that pays Kaiser dues for myself and my wife, and undoubtedly kept me both alive and out of poverty when they discovered I had a brain tumor a couple of years ago. Under it we have a reasonable payment per physician visit and an even larger payment for laboratory work: nothing prohibits us from making medical appointments (such as with the oncologist, the dermatologist, our excellent primary practitioner, the cardiologist, etc.) and nothing prevents our getting lab tests, x-rays, and such, but the costs are sufficient that we aren't tempted to waste those resources. We pay into this through automatic deductions to our Social Security payments.
On that score, Theodore Roszak has an article in today's LA Times: Medicare for All which says the simple solution to the health care problem is to allow all those who don't today have free Medicare the opportunity to buy Medicare insurance. Medicare works. Let everyone in on it. It needs no new bureaucracy, and we have experience with it.
Of course we don't know what that premium would be. Roszak's argument is that Medicare is here, it works, and while it has some cost problems those would be overcome if we eliminated fraud and waste. Since everyone says that we can finance whatever they're advocating from savings in fraud and waste, we don't need to take that statement too seriously, but it does cause me to wonder why we don't eliminate all that fraud without waiting for health care reform.
I have no idea what premium will be demanded. Roszak's article assumes the extended Medicare program would be voluntary. He assumes that there would have to be subsidies for the poor. He says that the program would be available to all and could not be denied for pre-existing causes; which would inevitably lead to gaming the system -- young people would be tempted not to buy a policy until they needed it, then rush out and get all they could. Whether these obvious objections can be overcome is not clear, so I at least can't speculate on the premium; I would presume it would be fairly large.
What we do know is that he proposes something specific that can be analyzed and is thus subject to a cost analysis. One suspects that such an analysis would be enlightening. I see no reason whatever to suppose that if fairly assessed it would cost less than any private plan, but I am prepared to be pleasantly surprised.
I get an average of two dozen requests for blurbs (puffs,
praise, for not yet published books) a year. Some come from my editors, and
I always try to respond to those. Then there are the requests from authors I
don't know. The same happens to us all, of course. Vonda McIntyre recently
wrote about this. For anyone with an interest in the subject, this is worth
An interesting puzzle story. I have no idea what it might mean:
This just in:
Of course many have not. To their disadvantage, but it's not an obvious disadvantage. To those who never took calculus (but did have Algebra) I recommend Calculus Made Easy and six months work, going through the problems and working them. What one fool can learn, another can -- and it's worth the learning because it induces one to think quantitatively about many things that didn't seem quantifiable before.
Calculus was invented in order to solve problems that would be too tough to solve without it. Like algebra it's really a form of low cunning.
September 23, 2009
I have errands all day.
For a reflection of the Depression times:
Obama continues to insist that he won't raise taxes on the middle class while admitting that his health care program will require everyone to buy health insurance: but that won't be a tax, because it's for their own good. The implications of that view are breathtaking.
I am still trying to comprehend Obama's performance at the UN. My first impression is that anything cheered by Iran, Libya, and Cuba is not all that likely to be a good thing for the United States. My second is that he may have acquired the hatred of the Israeli Lobby, a powerful enemy indeed.
Obama's policy isn't a lot different from the one I advocated years ago, when I basically insisted that Israel take what parts of the occupied territories it wanted, fence them off, and leave the rest to their own devices. Since that time Israel tried the experiment, in Gaza. The result was hundreds of unguided rockets launched from within Gaza at Israel. They were launched from residential neighborhoods, schoolyards, hospital parking lots, mosques, and many other civilian areas not usually on a military target list. The rockets had no targets. They didn't do a lot of damage; but no democratic government can ignore being bombarded like that without doing something about it. The result was predictable, Israeli incursion into Gaza followed by accusations of "over-reacting" and of being indifferent to civilian casualties. We have discussed this here in the past, and I'm not reopening it: my point is that the policy I advocated was tried (I am not claiming that was due to my influence). It was tried and the result was not good.
I no longer presume to advise Israel on strategy vis-ŕ-vis the West Bank and Gaza. I do believe that Israel is unfairly discriminatory to Christian Israeli citizens, so much so that most of that population has been alienated and many were driven into common cause with Muslims (hardly the traditional allies of Middle East Christians) -- but that is another discussion.
What the effect of Obama's UN appearance will be is not predictable beyond some obvious observations. It requires more thought.
I will return to net neutrality shortly. The term means different things to different people, and what I have seen as proposed regulations is not what many of those who favor "net neutrality" want at all. If the goal is to prevent content censorship that's one thing; but what I have seen proposed doesn't actually do that. In general I have not seen any compelling argument that additional regulation is needed: the market is doing the job.
Most complaints I have seen are more speculative than actual complaints. My concern is that ISP's must be able to charge different rates to users who use a whole lot of bandwidth, lest we all end up subsidizing Hulu and pornography. To those who insist that net neutrality allows users to be charged for what the use, I can only say that we don't yet see the actual proposed regulations, and many advocates of "net neutrality" really do mean that "packets are packets" and "flat rates are flat rates." We'll see what emerges as a candidate horse.
Net Neutrality. I try to read three newspapers, the LA Times, The Daily News, and the Wall Street Journal. The Daily News is actually written and published in Los Angeles and has an actual city editor and does actual local news. The LA Times has a number of awful columnists (one of their Sacramento columnists may be the sloppiest thinker I ever encountered in print) and a few good ones, and sometimes does good stories like the three I found on Tuesday. There are the remains of a good newspaper here, and I've been in the habit of reading the Times for more than 30 years. The Wall Street Journal is another old habit. It has deteriorated, but not so much as most newspapers, and it still has a stable of good writers. This morning I left the breakfast table without seeing all of the Wall Street Journal, so I messed the column on net neutrality.
It's worth your attention and gives some substance to the misgivings I have for new net neutrality regulations and laws.
Adam Smith said that whenever two capitalists meet, they always discuss ways to have government reduce the competition by making it harder to enter their profession. Google and Microsoft are not cooperating in their lobby efforts because of their deep concern for Internet Users. What many of you think is "net neutrality" has little to do with what these companies want.
We have two sunspots! http://www.solarcycle24.com/
"Recent subscriber with email address of adecker17 at a large cable company - my mail to you bounced with the Message: <cablecompanymailserver> said: 550 5.1.1 Not our Customer. Adecker17, please send me an email."
September 24, 2009
"Recent subscriber with email address of adecker17 at a large cable company - my mail to you bounced with the Message: <cablecompanymailserver> said: 550 5.1.1 Not our Customer. Adecker17, please send me an email."
I have a lot of mail on net neutrality, but nothing that tells me anything very new. The complaints are (1) that some ISP's favor their own brand of Internet Phone Service or Instant Movies over competitors, so speed up their own flicks, or, worse, slow down someone else's.
Second, some ISP's have enrolled more subscribers than they can possibly give unlimited bandwidth to, so they begin to slow down the heavy users, or attempt to charge them more. Then, it turns out, their contract, which most of their users didn't read, says they can do this, but it's not fair, because the must have known that most of the users wouldn't read the contract. Something must be done.
My immediate thought in both these cases is that inviting the government in will create a bureaucracy you will never get rid of, and the cure is very likely worse than the disease. Second thought is that some kind of truth in advertising may be in order -- if you sign up with AT&T as your provider don't expect good SKYPE service or something -- but again I wonder if the enforcement will not be worse than the problem.
I am reluctant to get the government's agents involved with these matters. To me, government is not the automatic remedy to anything. It is more the last resort to major problems.
When I sign up for Cable Modem, as an example, I expect to have access to Google and Bing. I expect to have access to the Apple cloud, iTunes, and such like. Microsoft and Google use far more resources than normal users, but don't expect to pay for any of that: I've paid for my access to Google, so why should Google pay anything extra?
The demand for a free good is infinite. On the other hand, Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy always applies. Creating another bureaucracy or adding to the powers of an existing one ought always to be done carefully and in fear. Government is not always your friend, and is not always neutral and benign -- and when it is benign, you may not believe that what it is doing is for your own good. And it's not a tax if it's for your own good...
I guess my advice to those who want net neutrality enforced by the government is that one should be careful what one wishes for.
If you have not seen this on the Netflix contest, it is worth your time:
We still have two official sunspots, but one is fading. http://www.solarcycle24.com/
I'll be doing errands the rest of the day.
September 25, 2009
We fled the 100 degree heat. Sable doesn't mind. She knows she can bully our faithful house sitter into taking her out. She knows it's a matter of persistence. We came down to San Diego where the fog rolled in about 6 last night, so thick that Roberta didn't dare go out to choir practice last night. It's still foggy, visibility about 100 yards or so, but apparently that doesn't extend far inland. Roberta has gone up to the Hillcrest area, and there's no fog there at all. This is posted late; I wrote it earlier today then got involved with other matters.
Regarding net neutrality: I can evaluate a proposed rule or regulation, but the term "net neutrality" means so many things to so many people that it's impossible to discuss. A bill may call itself the Net Neutrality Act and in fact contain noxious provisions. Recall that the DMCA has provisions inserted by a Congressional staffer who later left government service to become a vice president of RIAA that is highly favorable to publishers but really onerous to artists: and no one Congressman who voted for the bill claims to be in favor of that provision, or to have been aware that it was in there when the Congresscritter voted on it.
In our present environment no one can know what is in the laws that Congress passes. By no one I mean not any member of Congress, any senator, or the President. We discover these gems later; sometimes they don't appear until someone goes to court with a novel interpretation of the law that the courts then impose on everyone. The Americans with Disabilities Act, which was one of Ted Kennedy's bi-partisan achievements in cahoots with Bush I, was interpreted to mean that a company had to hire a deaf programmer, then to provide him with an interpreter who could sit in meetings with him and sign the conversations. There are many other such unintended -- no Congresscritter I know will admit intending that result -- in well known laws whose intentions may be good, but whose outcomes are astonishing.
The result of most of these regulations is precisely what you would expect: to prevent small companies and startups from competing with larger ones that can afford all the expensive compliance mechanisms the laws demand. Perhaps I am overly suspicious, but my predicti0n is that the main outcome of a net neutrality act will be to make it much more difficult to start an ISP because it will build in regulatory costs that dramatically increase overhead. Adam Smith warned us that capitalists will always collude to get government to inhibit competition. Big companies may grumble about regulations and compliance costs, but they reap that benefit.
The tendency of capitalism is to concentrate more and more power in fewer and fewer hands. Marx was not the only economist to note this trend. The remedy is to make it simpler for startups, but that is not what we have done. Sarbanes-Oxley is a great example of how to stifle new industries. The capital required to start a new company is far higher now, and the regulatory burdens far greater. My proclivity is to make things easier for new competitors, make it harder for companies to buy their competition -- particularly with borrowed money thus greatly increasing debt and pressure to increase profits -- and rigorously enforce the anti-trust laws. Too big to fail should not exist at all.
In other words, my prejudice is on fewer regulations, and on encouraging increased competition; but more attention to the concentration of power. But Schumpeter and David McCord Wright have said all this before.
I have a great deal of mail on net neutrality, all of it well written, but my general answer to just about all of it is that while it is easy enough to write scenarios about the horrors the ISP's could thrust upon us, the actual practices don't seem to be so onerous. The major lobbying pressure for new laws and regulations seems to come from Google and Microsoft, neither noticeably struggling. Then there is the struggle among entertainment providers, both mainstream and pornographic, who don't want to themselves pay for the bandwidth required to deliver their products.
Then there are the VOIP companies who fear that AT&T will discriminate against their packets in favor of AT&T VOIP -- a reasonable fear, given that AT&T has gone from a regulated public utility supporting Bell Labs to an unregulated public utility that no longer has the fanatic devotion the old AT&T had to quality of service. It's a reasonable fear, but perhaps there are simpler remedies than the ones I have seen proposed; moreover, wireless allows VOIP so that you can use your Mac Book as a telephone if you really want to. Apple iPhone introduced telephone users to the pocket computer and now there is a huge demand for such service along with resentment at being stuck with AT&T as the connectivity provider.
Given all this, I find it difficult to get into the "net neutrality" debate: I have no idea what we are debating. It seems clear to me that creating new government powers is generally the wrong thing to do, absent clear and present, or at least clear and easily foreseeable, need. No one has shown me the clear need yet. There are scenarios and horror stories, but by and large things are working, the trend is to more wireless which means more competition for the ISP providers who have some kind of monopoly granted by state or local authorities, and for that matter the nature of the monopoly is changing. Long time readers will recall that for about ten years Chaos Manor could not get decent high speed Internet. For broadcasting from here we had to use ISDN, which was expensive (and setting it up was a pain; I ended up talking to Scott Adams at Pacific Bell in order to get it running.)
We were too far from the switch for DSL, and there was no Cable Modem service. I used a wireless service for a while, and that worked pretty well, but that service went bankrupt. I made do with satellite until I could get cable modem.
This story is getting long, and probably belongs in the column since it is a matter of considerable interest to all the readers, and is not partisan political. I will probably continue (or summarize) in the next column.; My bottom line for the moment is that I understand that ISP's can and would want to discriminate against services in competition with services they provide. The question is, are we better off trusting the government (which will make it harder to compete with big companies, precisely what the big companies want) or to the market? I understand that neither will work perfectly. Both mechanism produce injustices. But which is more reliable over the long run?
I will have more to say on wireless networks and setups in the upcoming column. Everything has changed -- for the better -- since I had to do this last time. I've been experimenting with both Mac and PC systems. Mac is easier, but PC is no longer the nightmare it used to be.
I spoke too soon: we have a very strange problem with Mac Wireless communications, and it's on two different Macs; and the PC I connected through the network is fine.
The symptoms are these. Both the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro have no problems connecting to the wireless network. Both see each other, and both see two PC's connected to the same router, one by Ethernet cable, the other by wireless. Both have the correct DNS and Internet gateway IP addresses, the same on the Macs as on the TabletPC. The TabletPC is also connected by wireless, and has no difficulties -- but unlike the TabletPC, neither Mac connects to the Internet. Attempts to connect Firefox or Safari get endless spinning but no connection. The Air actually gives an error message that it is not connected to the Internet.
On both Macs if I open a terminal -- a command window -- I can ping any ISP out there. I can even connect to an ftp. I can log into distant sites. What I can't do is make either Mac connect to an internet site with either Firefox or Internet Explorer, nor with iTunes.
Further: if I use an Ethernet cable to connect the MacBook Pro, and/or the MacBook Air, to the router, then the machine is connected to the Internet in the normal way. So: the Macs connect to the wireless network and when connected to it will connect to each other, and through a terminal can ping external sites; but they do not think they are connected to the Internet. A TabletPc connected to the wireless net in exactly the same way with the same DNS and gateway IP addresses as the Macs have does not have any problems -- and if the Macs are connected with an Ethernet cable to the router, there are no problems.
A Google search for this problem shows that others have encountered it, but shows no solutions. My next step of course is to get to an Apple store and get Snow Leopard, and see if that helps. Other than that I have no ideas at all.
One more note: this same router worked with a MacBook Air no more than a month ago. It has since been reset with the reset button and reconfigured to exactly the same configuration as before, so far as we can remember. The settings are all default settings anyway. The router is a Belkin Wireless, and as noted, worked just fine for months, with PC's, a Linux system, and a MacBook Air (not mine).
I think of three tests. One is to install Snow Leopard on my MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Second would be to get a different router. Ideally two different routers, one a newer Belkin, the other a D-Link or some other brand. I don't know if I will have a chance to do that this weekend.
Please don't write me with speculations: we've done just about every experiment I can come up with, including using the console to connect the Mac with an ftp site and logging into it. Clearly the Mac can wirelessly get to the Internet at the down at bottom UNIX level. Equally clearly applications that require Internet connections don't believe that they can make that connection by wireless, but have no problems with being connected by Ethernet cable. This rules out DNS and gateway address problems. The difficulty is somehow internal to the Mac OS. It may simply be a code bug that Apple hasn't addressed. If you have experience with this problem, I'd like to hear from you, but please don't write me with speculations or guesses.
Thanks. I'll include this in next month's column because there are other things to be said about networking and the column gets to people who don't read this log. Of course I hope to have a happy ending before column deadline.
Oh: one more item. At Chaos Manor the wireless network is run by a Belkin Pre-N router. It works fine for both PC and Mac systems and I've never had a problem of any Mac being unable to get to the Internet by wireless; so if the problem has to do with Belkin, it's in models more recent than their Pre-N. What we hae here is the Belkin N1 Wireless router.
September 26, 2009
Barbara Bova, RIPhttp://www.naplesnews.com/news/2009/sep/25/former-daily-news-columnist-dies-cancer/
My sympathies to Ben, who has been a valued friend for a very long time.
September 27, 2009
Still at work. There will be a Chaos Manor Reviews Mailbag posted this evening.
Today's mail is a mixed bag with something interesting for most readers. Thanks to all of you who have recently subscribed or renewed subscriptions.
William Safire, RIP.
We were speakers at the same convention a couple of times and I enjoyed our conversations in the reception parties. I also much enjoyed his writings on language.
The September Chaos Manor Reviews mailbag is now posted.
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 weekly 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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