THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 503 January 28 - February 2, 2008
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January 28, 2008
A new iMac 20 has arrived. There's a story that goes with that, but it probably won't be told. I haven't opened it yet, because this takes some serious work: I have to arrange the work space so that it becomes a main machine, and it has to be integrated into the system and network. It will require considerable software, starting with Office. It will also require a name.
Today I have to get out the second installment of the January column (this month there will only be two; perhaps that will continue) and I have a full body CAT scan scheduled for this afternoon. It's going to be a busy day.
The notion with the iMac is to use it pretty well full time as a main machine, to see just how one might convert from Windows to Mac (or if it's what one ought to do, or rather, for just whom is this appropriate). This won't be the only Mac in my system. Getting all this integrated is going to take some time and work.
I'll be thinking about this on my morning walk, which starts now. Back later.
Thanks to Ron Schwartz for this one:
Read it and cry. On the other hand, if you live in New York City, perhaps it serves you right.
We are home from the CAT scan, and a Wagner tribute at the Owl's Nest up near the Hollywood sign; one of my favorite places to go to a party. I was full of banana flavored barium chalk, so not terribly comfortable, and now I'm exhausted. I intended to start in on the column tonight, but I don't think I'll manage it.
The new iMac is upstairs but not yet uncrated. I also have a new Kindle. Now all I have to do is find some energy. Much of mine seems to have escaped, but doubtless it will turn up. I am not used to running low on energy for journalism.
Thanks to all who recently subscribed or renewed. You have my gratitude. I'll be composing a letter to subscribers some time this week after I get a couple of other things being caught up. Apologies to those who renewed and didn't get an acknowledgment; there were some, because one day more renewals came in than I could keep up with. I'm caught up now, though. And thanks again.
Tomorrow I'll get to ginning on the column. I have a couple of good stories to tell, and there's some good stuff here to write about.
One thing. Let me assure you, I am not going to name the new Mac "Mac the Knife." I have never been a fan of Brecht, although I will agree that he nearly made up for a lifetime of -- well, less than honorable lifetime -- with his last poem about the East German uprising.
The new iMac 20 is uncrated. The packaging is elegant. The Mac looks great: there is a sturdy typing table just for the Mac.
I am still working on a name for this lovely machine. Sure looks elegant.
|This week:||Tuesday, January
I have the iMac 20 uncrated and ready to fire up, but there are other things to do first. Among them is collecting software; it has been a while since I had extensive contacts in the Mac software and accessory community, and I'll have to rebuild those.
I am also rearranging the office to make room for the Mac at my primary work station, since the goal here is to make it a main machine and get used to it to see how well I can work with it. The conventional wisdom among pundits today is that the Mac is the best machine for video processing, and the right system for home and general purpose use, with Windows being best for high end games and business applications.
We'll just have to see. I continue to be impressed with the general design of the iMac. It's just plain pretty.
I am assuming that it will work with a Microsoft "comfort curve" keyboard; I like those keyboards a lot. I also presume it will work with a wireless version of that. I know that Apple sells a wireless keyboard. The keyboard that came with the Mac is pretty, and I might learn to like it, but it's not anything like what I am used to. The keys don't click, and they remind me a bit of the IBM PC Junior Chiclets keys. I have an Apple keyboard that I used with the PowerBook and that seems to be a bit better for actual production work. One button mice do not appeal to me; it takes two hands to do a shift click or command click and that seems inefficient. I do like right, left, and scroll on my mice, and I see no reason not to use a simple Microsoft Redeye mouse with this system; although I admit that the mouse that came with the iMac is prettier. That, of course, scares me: pretty rather than useful is not a tradeoff I often make.
Anyway, I have yet to turn this on, or even to give the iMac a name. I think the system is feminine and needs a female name. One reader suggests Tylara or Gwen from my Janissaries series. I need to think on that. Of course lady Isobel is Rick's daughter, and will have a part to play in future episodes.
And it's late and I need to get to bed. With luck I have got rid of most of the banana chalk I had to drink, and the dyes they injected into me this afternoon. The rest can wait until morning.
We're about to go on our morning walk. Roberta is on the phone getting financial details for the lawyers as we go about putting my affairs in order. No cause for alarm. The news hasn't changed. It just seems prudent to get all the legal documents in shape.
I managed to get the January column finished and off to the advisors. It will be up before the month ends.
Tomorrow I get a bone marrow biopsy. Wish me luck.
January 30, 2008
The January Column part two is up.
I have finished the final line edit notes from Bob Gleason on Inferno II, and sent that to Niven; the book will be to copy edit in a week.
Alas the bone marrow biopsy has been postponed. That's a bit worrisome, but nothing I can do about it just now.
I am told that the first test of Aries 1 is likely to be a total failure. Using SRB was never a good idea. Segmented solid boosters is never a good idea. We'll have to see. There are some good engineers and physicists in NASA, but they are not in control of this hunkered down Iron Law Bureaucracy. It may be that a few more disasters will finish it off, but that's doubtful: how many officials are there in the Department of Agriculture? Probably more than there are farmers. NASA will continue long after all actual space flight ceases.
There's some good mail today. I have made comments on two notes so far and there may be more. I'll try to do an essay today but I may not be able to.
I have this from mail, and it can serve as my essay although I didn't write it.
This is worth keeping in mind as you occasionally read horrific articles about how the military is losing senior NCOs and mid-level officers. With an actual war going on, we are building expertise and experience at much faster rates than during peacetime. For instance, the largest movement of US troops at once since WWII took place while I was working at the headquarters that had to carry it out. No pressure... I know some people we're still easing out of the service, because we figure their replacement will be better for the greater good. While I know some good people who are getting out sooner than the expected, I don't know of any who doesn't have health or family issues I'd consider sufficient to explain the matter. The back bench is now extremely capable of stepping up if something happens to the varsity. We let junior sergeants lead patrols knowing that even if they don't make an error, they can still be a horrible example on CNN the next day. Why? They can handle it.
Which is worth thinking about. Discussion in Mail.
Today is the memorial of Thomas Aquinas. Do something logical today in his honor.
How could I have forgotten!
And your tax dollars at work:
The Fed is pumping more money out in the hopes of restarting the housing boom and bringing it down a bit less abruptly. In so doing they tax fixed income and retirement savings.
Clearly the government hates people who save money, and will do anything it can to tax those economic traitors. Or perhaps it's simple greed?
Not, I hasten to add, that I quite know what to do about the economic disasters we have engineered for ourselves. The country is going to have to take an economic dose of salts, and clear out the system.
We know this. The market is still the most efficient allocation system for putting resources to work. It satisfies what people want. On the other hand, the market is amoral, and tends to the worst: left to itself it will sell anything, from its grand daughter's virtue to human flesh for stew. The unregulated market does not produce a country that many will die to defend. Few ever charged up a hill to preserve a standard of living, and the only greater fool is one who dies to preserve someone else's standard of living. For a man to love his country, his country ought to be lovely, and the market, unrestrained, can't do that; it will sell anything that anyone, no matter how perverted, will buy.
We also know that the closest thing we have to a true middle class in this country are the home owners. Sure: there are some who have incomes reasonably independent of the government and economic conditions, but most Americans are only a short step away from utter dependence on government. They don't have savings enough to live for a few months, much less for a year or more. We can't let the market wipe out all those who were enticed into what they thought were investments in housing. Yet we don't want to protect all those who took advantage of the government's interference in the market to make silly loans in hopes of shuffling the risk of onto someone else before everyone caught wise. And for that matter, the financial institutions that didn't bother to look at the quality of the "investment grade" paper they were buying from the money lenders don't have much of a break coming -- not in an ethical world, anyway.
So we have to climb down, carefully, from the precipice we dashed up to; and that's going to take a lot more than rhetoric or food stamps or demagoguery. It's going to take economic skills of a high order, and I don't see one single candidate from any party who has the faintest idea of the magnitude of the problem, much less a solution.
Libertarianism is a vector, not a position. In general, in a Republic, that government that governs best governs least. That's not to say it shouldn't govern at all. Pure unrestrained capitalism ends up with the winner being the one who can hire the most efficient mercenaries -- which is to say, those who can set up a state under a different name. Economic recovery is going to take economic freedom; but pure economic freedom has the seeds of its own destruction. Political power isn't just economics. Men do not fight and die for economic power - although there are plenty who will send men to die for economic power.
(An aside to think about: The pure theory of politics: A tells B to do something, and B does it. Why? De Jouvenal wrote on the subject, but his books are largely unavailable. He also said that a nation of sheep would soon beget a government of wolves.)
I am not sure where I am going with these ramblings, and it's time to get dressed. I'll think on it. My point is that we are in a mess in these United States, and it's going to take considerable care to get out of it without disrupting the whole fabric of society. And now it's time for our walk.
Subject: TSA Blog?
Under the heading of, you've got to be kidding me!
To which I can only say, they are trying.
Imogene goes live: I have installed 4 GB of Kingston memory (KTA-MB667K2/4G) in Imogene, the new 1Mac 20, and turned her on. Setup will take a while, because I am also bringing Ariadne, the 15" PowerBook back up and she is taking a while to install her updates. There's a stage in a new iMac setup that asks if you want to bring anything over for a previous Mac; that happens by Firewire.
I had forgotten just how elegant Macs are.
Imogene is the name of Rick Galloway's daughter in Mamelukes, a book I'll get back to work on this week. We're getting past a spate of medical appointments. Of course they may decide to poison me (on the theory that they can poison whatever is going wrong with me and it will kill that faster than it kills me) and that may make it a bit hard to work, but I'll get that book done.
Stay tuned. Details will mostly be in the column, but we'll have stories here. And if you haven't subscribed, this would be a good time. I have just been reminded that a number of works, including A Step Farther Out, and the California 6th Grade Reader, and much other stuff is available to subscribers in the closed section of Chaos Manor Reviews.
I have long written that technology, having made it possible for nearly anyone to make and distribute professional quality sound recordings, is doing the same for video. Now there's proof. This is astonishing.
The predictable end of civilization in England:
And why not?
At least Italian Fascism honored its scientists. Fermi was ennobled by the King on il Duce's recommendation.
And of course they don't want equality of opportunity. They don't even want equality. They want an equal pool of submissive subjects obedient to the master bureaucrats. 'Twas ever thus. Have a nice century.
My thanks to all who have told me this:
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
The mouse that came with your new iMac should be their Mighty Mouse, which, even though it lacks actual buttons, will right click, left click (just press either side of the mouse as if actual buttons were there). Clicking on the itty-bitty scroll button acts as center click, as well as scrolling vertically and horizontally. There should also be something resembling buttons on either side that should be configurable as well.
I hope that's useful and helpful information. That you've probably received several dozen times. Oh well ;)
Thanks, Wayne Smith
I am setting up Imogene, the new iMac 20, and I must say I think I am in love. It's gorgeous. I did install 2 2GB Kingston memory chips, and it's only seeing 2 GB; I have to shut down and make sure I have pushed that in hard enough (and use some Stabilant 22 to make sure). All this and more in the column.
Macs are cool, and elegant.
I have taken her down and reinstalled the Kingston memory. We'll see if that did it -- AHA! We now have 4 GB.
And it's time for my morning walk.
Shortly after my morning walk, Niven called. We went to lunch, then went up the hill, 4 mile RT and 800 foot climb. So I'm still in shape to do that. We got a viewpoint character and the opening scene of the story set. We still don't have a working title of the new big book (on hitting the Earth with something big, the most lucrative thing I have ever done) but we have a good plot outline to the middle of the book, and the opening scene.
The Mac has some vexing problems but not all that many. Meanwhile, Outlook has been trying to drive me nuts today, but I have that under control.
I'll catch up on Mail now. The day was not devoured by locusts. It has been a good day, productive. But I was a bit short on time. Do look at Russell Seitz's note on climate models.
I see they cut the interest rates again (i.e. levied a new tax on savings) in order to try to help bail out the housing situation. Their goal is to recreate the boom, but stop it before it becomes a bubble. I doubt they can do that.
Romney today on radio has the most sensible approach to our economic problems I have heard yet, and also a sensible immigration policy. I begin to wish he would win in California next Tuesday, but I don't expect him to.
February 2, 2008
Continuing to work on setting up the Mac.
I will have an essay on the Microsoft off to buy Yahoo and the whole crazy scramble to keep bubbles going. That will be in next week's column at Chaos Manor Reviews.
February 3, 2008
I did the Chaos Manor Reviews letter column today. It should be posted by tomorrow evening. I'm now working on the February column.
It has been a busy day. I had some adventures with Imogene the new iMac 20. Among those adventures, I don't seem to have had a chance to name her: Apple decided for me, and called her Jerry's Mac, which isn't precisely the name I'd have chosen. There may be a way to modify that, but I haven't figured out how.
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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