Week Two: June 22 through June 28, 1998





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The thought for the day: I'm still trying to organize mail by topic and keep up with everything. Not easy. We now have mail on Norton Utilities, operating systems, the BYTE fiasco, how to convert Netscape Bookmarks to IE4 Favorites, how to set the system to make IE4 your browser, and the Good Lord alone knows what else. I don't know how to make an automatic index or table of contents although I am sure there must be a way. If I could merely write some key words at the top of each mail and have an indexing program? There has to be a better way than merely chronological, but I don't know what it is. (Better in the sense of practical use of my time, too.) Suggestions very much appreciated: send here.

Do see the web construction page if you didn't see it before.

 NEW: Discussion of Windows 98 has its own page.


New feature, SPACEMAIL, the topic of which is obvious.

There's more on OUTLOOK, and I have grouped it with past mail on the subject..

There is now a page, mostly mail, on Web Construction and Maintenance. It includes all the mail on Word vs Front Page and the like. For some odd things I have tried on the subject, see TESTIT. The attempt to organize mail caused a minor disaster; WORD isn't the ideal tool for some of this stuff.

For an update on IRFAN default graphics viewer, click here.

The Mail: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday

Jump to today's item, assuming I remembered to move the bookmark, click here.

 This will be a sometimes thing, depending more on you than me. Clicking here Mail Me will get to us. Don't expect a reply to everything sent, and be warned that anything sent here may appear in public places. All mail sent to any of my addressed becomes the property of J. E. Pournelle and Associates, none will be returned, you have been warned; and it may be answered by me or one of the gang, publicly or privately. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and brevity, and while we will try not to change the sense of what you say, we incur no liability from that editing. We also reserve the right to print exactly what you say without editing. If you want anonymity, use:

Also understand that mistakes can happen, and do not bet your career on everything going right at a place that calls itself Chaos Manor.

If you possibly can, send letters for Chaos Manor Mail as ASCII without line ends so that it's easy to convert them.

It's pretty clear this will need organizing by subject, but that may take a while. I'm dancing as fast as I can. Organization is a problem: done by date, what happens if I update an answer? Insert mail on a similar subject? Suggestions welcome:

Jump to today's item, assuming I remembered to move the bookmark, click here.


Monday, June 22, 1998:

  •  From: David Weller []
  • Sent: Thursday, June 18, 1998 8:46 AM

  • To:

  • Subject: Followup you requested of me...

  • Jerry,

    You asked me to drop you a note about the Reformed English stuff I scribbled. Here you go. It's still in early stages.

    DVD vs. DIVX: The Truth Is Out There =>

    ---------------------Read about "Reformed English"----------------------------

  • "Linguistically ingenious, politically incorrect"

    Thanks. An interesting place to look into.

  • From: Ian Clark []

    Sent: Saturday, June 20, 1998 9:21 PM

    To: Jerry Pournelle

    Subject: $10

  • I don't know your national versus international readership, but on JONCON UK, German, Russian and Australian citizens have all said they wish to see an "electro-BYTE" (call it what you will).

    The trouble with a cheque is the Bank charges me $6 to obtain a draft for US$10.

    If you were able to take credit card, VISA or Mastercard have no fee, just a rather shaded exchange rate.

    That's why I paid a three year subscription to BYTE last year - for all the risks, it reduced the ancillary costs.

    Card - I'd do today. Cheque - oh, and add AU $1.50 for postage - I'll think about.

    You get $10. I spend AU $16.4 + $6 + $1.50 = 23.90.

    However, if you say on the site - no money, no entrance, I'll spend it.

    But I'd really prefer VISA - AU $17.


  • Ian Clark

    Gladstone QLD Australia

    Thanks. Of course you're right: it would be silly to waste money that way. Same for most overseas readers. We'll work something out because I need the money. At one point I thought about having my local literary agent collect the money, the sanity returned: the last thing a literary agency needs is hundreds of small checks. Something has to be done, but I don't know what yet.

  • From: Edward Hume <>

    Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 00:13:25 -0400

    Subj: Beer

  • ____________________________________________________________

    Following is an actual letter sent to Miller Brewing Company and their response:

    Miller Brewing Company

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    I have been a drinker of Miller beers for many years (actually, ever since the company that made my favorite beer back in the mid 80s donated a big chunk of change to Handgun Control Inc. so I had to switch). Initially, my beer of choice was Lite, but some time in mid-1990 while in Honduras I switched to MGD smuggled up from Panama. Now,for nearly six years, I have been a faithful drinker of MGD.

    For these past years, I have come to expect certain things from Genuine Draft. I expect that whenever I see that gold can of MGD, I am about ready to enjoy a great, smooth brew. But wait! Sometime around the first of the year, my beloved MGD changed colors, so to speak. That familiar gold can was no longer gold! Knowing that I am, by nature, somewhat resistant to change, I forced myself to reserve judgment on the new can design. Gradually, I grew to appreciate the new label. That was until about May of this year. That was when I discovered (empirically) that I really didn't like the new design. Further investigation of the cause of my distress resulted in the following observations:

    1. Your cans are made of aluminum.

    2. Aluminum is a great conductor of energy.

    3. Your beer is commonly consumed outside, and thus, the container may be exposed to sunlight.

    4. Sunlight striking the can causes radiant warming of the surface of the can. 5. The resultant heat (energy) is transferred through the aluminum, by conduction, to the contents of the can (the beer).

    6. Warm beer sucks.

    This is a process that can be observed in just about any beer. However, this process is significantly accelerated in MGD because you painted the damn can ... black!!!

    Who was the rocket scientist that designed the new graphic for the can and implemented the change right before summer? Granted, this process may not be real evident up there in Wisconsin, but down here in Oklahoma (OR TEXAS) where the summers are both sunny and hot, this effect is quite a problem. There's no telling what the folks in Texas and Arizona are having to put up with.

    Knowing that you would probably not address this issue unless you had firm evidence of a problem, I and several other subjects conducted extensive experimentation. The results of these experiments are listed below. The experiments were conducted over two days on the deck next to my pool. The study included seven different types of beer (leftovers from a party the previous weekend) that were initially chilled to 38 degrees F and then left exposed to sunlight for different lengths of time. These beers were sampled by the test subjects at different intervals. The subjects, all normally MGD drinkers, were asked at each sampling interval their impressions of the different beers. The length of time between the initial exposure to sunlight and the point where the subject determined the sample undrinkable (the Suck-point) was determined. This means that the higher the number at the suck-point, the longer it could sit in the sun without sucking. The average ambient temperature for the trials was 95 degrees F. Beer Type Color of can Average Suck-point(minutes)


    Miller Lite (white can) 6.2

    Bud (white can) 5.5

    Bud Lite (silver can) 5.2

    Ice House (blue and silver can) 4.4

    Coors Lite (silver can) 4.1

    Miller Genuine Draft (black can) 2.8

    Coors (gold can) 0.1

    It was evident that the color of the can directly correlates to the average suck point, except for Coors which was pretty much determined to suck at any point.

    It is to be hoped that you will consider re-designing your MGD cans. All beer drinkers that are not smart enough to keep their beer in the shade will thank you.

  • Sincerely,

    Bradley Lee




  • The Miller response appears below. They have had a lot of fun with this guy's letter. Enjoy...

    Dear Bradley Lee,

    Thank you for your letter and your concern about the MGD can color as it relates to premature warming of the contents.

    Like you, we at Miller Beer take beer drinking very seriously. To that end, we have taken your letter and subsequent experiment under serious consideration. Outlined below are our findings and solution to your problem. May we add that we have had similar letters from other loyal beer drinkers, mostly from the Southern United States.

    First, let us congratulate you on your findings. Our analysis tends to agree with yours regarding Coors. It certainly does suck at about any temperature. Now, it was our intentions when redesigning the MGD can to create better brand identity and brand loyalty. Someone in marketing did some kind of research and determined we needed to redesign the can. You will be pleased to know, we have fired that idiot and he is now wreaking havoc at that pro-gun control beer manufacturer. The design staffer working in cahoots with the marketing idiot was also down-sized. However, once we realized this mistake, to undo it would have been even a bigger mistake. So, we took some other actions. From our market research, we found a difference between Northern beer drinkers and Southern beer drinkers. Beer drinkers in the South tend to drink slower than beer drinkers in the North. We are still researching why that is. Anyway, at Miller Beer, it was never our intentions to have someone take more than 2.5 minutes to enjoy one of our beers. We pride ourselves in creating fine, smooth, quick drinking beers and leave the making of sissy, slow sipping beers to that Sam guy in Boston. However, it is good to know that you feel our Miller Lite can last as long as 6 minutes. However, may we suggest in the future you try consuming at least two in that time frame.

    >From your letter, we had our design staff work 'round the clock to come up with a solution that would help not just MGD but all our fine Miller products. We hope you have recently noticed our solution to your problem. We found that the hole in the top of the can was not big enough for quick consumption. So, we have now introduced the new "Wide Mouth" cans. We hope this will solve all your problems.

    Might I also suggest that if you want to get the beer out of the can even faster, you can poke a hole on the side near the bottom, hold your finger over it, open the can, tip it to your mouth and then pull your finger off the hole. This is a common way to drink beer at parties and impress your friends. This technique is known as "shot-gunning". You should like the name.

    Again, thank you for your letter and for bringing to our attention that there might be other beer drinkers taking more that 2.5 minutes to drink our beers. Let me assure you that I will have our advertising department work on campaign to solve this problem, too.

  • Sincerely,

    Tom B. Miller

    Public Relations

    Miller Brewing Co.

  • P.S. And remember, at Miller Beer we do favor gun control, too. So please use two hands when firing.

  • I have no idea whether this is authentic although I have known Ed Hume for 20 years, and it probably is. If it isn't, it ought to be. Thanks
  • From: Rob Levandowski []

    Sent: Sunday, June 21, 1998 10:03 AM



  • Jerry,

    Just looked at the table test. ACK! :)

    It's not very legible. Here are the problems with using tables for layout:

    1. You force people to use the same size window that you use. Thus, if someone wants to use a smaller window on a smaller monitor, they have to scroll around a lot. For that reason, fixed-width tables are a Bad Thing.

    2. When you try to print something that's been done with fixed-width tables, you usually find that the content creator has a printer with a wider carriage than yours, and stuff gets chopped unless you play with reductions. Another Bad Thing.

    3. Especially on slower computers, tables take longer to render, making the site seem much slower. The test page was at least an order of magnitude slower to load on my Power Mac 7100/80AV using Netscape 3.04, as compared with your other pages.

    4. Using a table for a button-bar is inelegant, because it's only useful if you keep the text on the page short-and, Jerry, we ALL know that you don't keep your text short! :) Once the page gets long, the buttons get scrolled offscreen. For that reason, if a button-bar is indicated, it's better to use frames. Besides, properly designed frames will reduce load times.

    5. It's best to avoid changing text color where possible; some people are color-blind and odd colored text may be invisible to them. Besides, some people configure their browsers to ignore text color tags, which may make the page illegible if the background is too funky.

    I find a common mistake of site designers is to think that HTML is supposed to be used the same way as PageMaker-to create a Layout. HTML is a content-description language, not a page-description language. If you use the HTML tags to mark up the features of your text, rather than the appearance, you'll get the best results. For example, the <B> bold tag is an appearance thing; the <STRONG> tag is better because it shows that you meant the text to have a strong emphasis, and it results in boldface on browsers that support bold, and some other form of strong emphasis on other browsers, such as Lynx. It also makes it easier to analyze pages automatically.

    I've occasionally heard HTML compared to fonts on the early Macintosh:

    people tried to use all the fonts at once, and wrote documents that looked like ransom notes. People who are just starting with HTML tend to do the same sort of thing. For your purpose, we're here for your text, not your layout... so keep it simple, which will keep it readable. If your readers want a different text color, or a different font, or a different column width, we can easily adjust our browsers... which was the intent of HTML.

    Hope it helps...

  • Rob Levandowski

  • p.s. In case you were wondering: my tool of choice for making Web pages is BBEdit Lite on my Mac. By keeping it simple, it's easier to write HTML by hand and get good results-and most of all, get the expected results. All the Web editors I've tried to weird things, because they try to apply the PageMaker layout paradigm to HTML, rather than applying the HTML paradigm to HTML.

  • The debate continues. Eric says he was able to handle frames nicely on Dominator, an IBM 486 DX4 that he had when that was state of the art. Some have asked me never to use frames, others suggest them. This being completely an experimental place, I am very much open to suggestions.

    Keep it simple and readable is exactly right. When it isn't, let me know. So far I read all my mail. I don't answer all of it but I read it...

    We'll get there. Really. Real Soon Now...

  • From: Rob Levandowski []

    Sent: Sunday, June 21, 1998 10:03 AM



  • Jerry,

    Just looked at the table test. ACK! :)

    It's not very legible. Here are the problems with using tables for layout:

    1. You force people to use the same size window that you use. Thus, if someone wants to use a smaller window on a smaller monitor, they have to scroll around a lot. For that reason, fixed-width tables are a Bad Thing.

    2. When you try to print something that's been done with fixed-width tables, you usually find that the content creator has a printer with a wider carriage than yours, and stuff gets chopped unless you play with reductions. Another Bad Thing.

    3. Especially on slower computers, tables take longer to render, making the site seem much slower. The test page was at least an order of magnitude slower to load on my Power Mac 7100/80AV using Netscape 3.04, as compared with your other pages.

    4. Using a table for a button-bar is inelegant, because it's only useful if you keep the text on the page short-and, Jerry, we ALL know that you don't keep your text short! :) Once the page gets long, the buttons get scrolled offscreen. For that reason, if a button-bar is indicated, it's better to use frames. Besides, properly designed frames will reduce load times.

    5. It's best to avoid changing text color where possible; some people are color-blind and odd colored text may be invisible to them. Besides, some people configure their browsers to ignore text color tags, which may make the page illegible if the background is too funky.

    I find a common mistake of site designers is to think that HTML is supposed to be used the same way as PageMaker-to create a Layout. HTML is a content-description language, not a page-description language. If you use the HTML tags to mark up the features of your text, rather than the appearance, you'll get the best results. For example, the <B> bold tag is an appearance thing; the <STRONG> tag is better because it shows that you meant the text to have a strong emphasis, and it results in boldface on browsers that support bold, and some other form of strong emphasis on other browsers, such as Lynx. It also makes it easier to analyze pages automatically.

    I've occasionally heard HTML compared to fonts on the early Macintosh:

    people tried to use all the fonts at once, and wrote documents that looked like ransom notes. People who are just starting with HTML tend to do the same sort of thing. For your purpose, we're here for your text, not your layout... so keep it simple, which will keep it readable. If your readers want a different text color, or a different font, or a different column width, we can easily adjust our browsers... which was the intent of HTML.

    Hope it helps...

  • Rob Levandowski

  • p.s. In case you were wondering: my tool of choice for making Web pages is BBEdit Lite on my Mac. By keeping it simple, it's easier to write HTML by hand and get good results-and most of all, get the expected results. All the Web editors I've tried to weird things, because they try to apply the PageMaker layout paradigm to HTML, rather than applying the HTML paradigm to HTML.

  • All good advice, and all this will be transferred to the web building page one of these days. Meanwhile, I keep experimenting. I now have Front Page 98 running, and it looks like I'll keep it. Thanks.
  • From: Keith Irwin []

    Sent: Sunday, June 21, 1998 12:26 PM

    To: Jerry Pournelle

    Subject: Loss of Mail



  • Alas Jerry! Sorry about the loss of your mail! I sent an e-mail yesterday in which I mentioned the exact same problem. Here's a quote:

    "Last night I had problems inserting large amounts of text into a single cell. Word kept doing weird things to it. I suspect this is a problem with Word itself. My solution was to create more cells with the draw tool, then insert parts of the stuff that way. Another solution might be to insert into the HTML directly, but I'm not sure Word would then be able to interpret the document."

    So, the error IS reproducible, not that that's much consolation. When I pasted a long document into a single cell, I could see it in Word, even after clicking save, but when I closed the doc and reopened (or looked at it with a browser) the whole cell was gone.

    Perhaps someone still has the stuff in their cache and can "work offline," find it, and mail it to you? Fire up IE4, go into Offline mode (file menu) and see if you can find it in the cache, or got to c:\windows\Temporary Internet Files and see if it's in there. If you looked at it with IE4 once or twice, there might be a copy. (Same with netscape.) I searched mine, and didn't find one, for some reason.

    Good luck. Wish I'd been able to warn you earlier! (Maybe Darnell has a backup?)

    -K ()

  • In fact Robert Thompson found a good bit of it and I recovered most. Thanks. Front Page doesn't seem to have the same problems. We'll see. The experiments continue.
  • From: Peter N. Glaskowsky []

    Sent: Sunday, June 21, 1998 3:23 PM



    Subject: AMD's K6-2

  • In response to your email to Jerry Pournelle, as found at:

    The AMD K6-3D was announced at the 1997 Microprocessor Forum, an industry conference run by the company I work for, MicroDesign Resources ( ). The K6-3D was renamed the K6-2 when it was announced this spring.

    Our newsletter, the Microprocessor Report, ran a detailed article on the K6-3D at the time, and we've run additional material on the 3DNow! instruction set that appeared in the K6-2.

    There's a subtle point to be made here about paper vs. electronic publications. The Report is a paper publication, but our secret to prompt coverage is advance disclosure from the vendors. Vendors often set their release dates to coincide with our cover dates so we can have a detailed article on the street the same day a part is announced. This often means our analysis is published on paper even _before_ the electronic media get the raw material they'll use to write their stories. (And why our analysts often get quoted in those stories.)

    I've also written about the K6-2 and 3DNow! for my column in Multimedia Systems Design magazine ( ), though MSD suffers from publication lag just like other paper magazines.

    You might want to check out our Web site for information on the Microprocessor Report, since it sounds like information you could use.

    Oh, and just to comment on a couple other points on that page in case Jerry wants to add this letter to it, I use and prefer Eudora for email; it's a great package, powerful and easy to use. Most importantly, it's no more complex than necessary to do the job. I'm a big fan of elegance in software design. I also use Dreamweaver as a Web-page editor for the same reasons. Other Web-page editors are as powerful, or more, but all the other decent editors produce really messy HTML code. Dreamweaver's output is clean and concise, and if you edit it manually, Dreamweaver won't mess with your changes. Jerry, I strongly recommend both packages.

    . png

  • Thank you. For those who don't know, Peter is an expert on what's coming in the chip world, and Microprocessor Report is one of the key journals in that field; and the talk by the newsletter's founder, Michael Slater, is one of the high points of the annual Windows Hardware Engineering Conference. I'll try Dreamweaver another time: somehow I misplaced all my copies. I'm getting a new one. But now that I have Front Page running, I wonder if I'll be absorbed into the Borg before I can escape...
  • From: Broyles, Bryan, MAJ., LITCTR []

    Sent: Monday, June 22, 1998 7:08 AM

    To: 'Jerry Pournelle'

    Subject: Web Site Donations

  • Sir,

    soon to follow will be my snail mail with check, (or, god forbid, cash) in the amount of $10. I understand the limitations of your offer, and am unoffended as you have certainly made it clear this is a donation, NOT a subscription.

    I look forward to your continued success, as I, and others like me, are the beneficiaries. Hopefully, your books and this web page will be able to continue without being mutually exclusive.

    By the way, do you have any particular voice word processors to recommend? I have a friend with a serious wrist condition working on his doctoral thesis (linguistics, argh). He uses a Mac currently, but is willing to switch to Wintel if necessary. Thanks for any help you can offer.

    Bryan Broyles

  • There are three major speech recognition programs now, and they all work. It is my impression that the latest Lernour and Hauspie is about the best, followed rather closely by the IBM Via Voice followed again closely by Dragon's Naturally Speaking. You can now buy Work Perfect 8 from Corel bundled in with Dragon, and I know that package works because I have seen it in use. I don't myself dictate; too set in my ways. Thanks, and stay well, Jerry

    Saturday, June 16, 2001


  • From: Myers, Clark E []

    Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 1998 12:48 PM

    To: ''

    Subject: HTML checkers what do you use and recommend?

  • Are you rating any of your pages for handicap access?

    See e.g., for software that will rate your page and do a little light lint checking. Granted the objectives are different, do you have any comments on the research with distracting graphics from the reading program and how it applies to web pages?

    Good Luck


    Clark E. Myers


    M/S 19-HJ seat 2-122-2-2E3-B

    "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence," said Napoleon Bonapart. There are also degrees of SNAFU short of incompetence which may suffice.

    Jerry Pournelle

    Well, I looked at the site. It gave me two stars. Sorry, but I am not going to eliminate the picture. It didn't like the way I did some links, too. Now if someone were paying me to do this, I'd have more time, but I just don't have days to put into it. What should I do, wax artistic describing myself to have an alternative to the picture? Not to be callous, but some information is graphic, and that's the way it is; technology is making it possible to cure some of the blind, the halt, and the lame (and the damned near deaf like me) and I don't think anyone can fault my record on support for that kind of thing, both in political support and with my own money. I don't much fancy feeling guilty about not earning more stars from some arbitrary program that doesn't bother to do much explaining of what it is trying to do, and pretends to be a policeman. Thanks for suggesting it, but I'm doing about all I know how to do already.

    As to distracting graphics, the objectives of a program to teach phonics, and the combination of entertainment and serious intellectual discussion are somewhat different, are they not? I'm quite sure that a lot of whizbangs would distract me, but on the other hand, I like some of them, the real problem being they take so long to download.

  •  From: Alex Keizer []
  • Sent: Monday, June 22, 1998 12:37 PM

  • To: ''

  • Subject: European subscribers

  • Hi Jerry

    I think that having a chance to keep reading your columns would be worth the $10. As I live in Europe I don't know how to pay the $10 without paying the bank more than the original $10.

    Any ideas?

    Alex Keizer.


    From: Don Armstrong []
    Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 1998 1:29 AM
    To: ''
    Subject: chaosmanormail: Money

    I somehow overlooked your request for funding. I would happily pay your US$10....
     but, like many of your constituency, I don't have a reasonable method of doing so.
    I'm from overseas.
    If I send you a cheque, bank charges would eat most of it from your end - at least they do if I try to bank a US cheque in Australia. If I buy an international money order, I wear a fee that's nearly half again of the amount you ask. We don't have Millicent - otherwise I would have sent you a Possony dollar about three months ago - I've been hanging out for that. If you can get a Visa Card charge system going, it will solve both my payment problems at once, but it still wouldn't really have been feasible for just one dollar.

    If I really have to, I'll wear the impost for the international money order, but as noted, it's not a reasonable method.

    Your international constituency needs (several) credit cards for larger amounts; and Millicent, for smaller ones.
    Everyone lobby Compaq for Millicent!

    Best wishes
    Don Armstrong
    Sydney, Australia

    Thanks to both of you. I don't have and answer yet; I do agree that paying the bank as much as you pay me is absurd. I am hoping to find a way. I think I covered this already. Oh. Well.

    I complained that I couldn't manage to convince Outlook that my default browser has become IE 4. Within minutes the mail began flowing, and it didn't take long to fix things. Power of the Internet. It's awesome.


  • From: Keith Irwin []

    Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 1998 1:08 AM

    To: Jerry Pournelle

    Subject: Default Browser with Outlook

  • Jerry-

    Re: "First, I cannot find any way to tell Outlook 98 that I want to change over to Internet Explorer as the default."

    Did you try the "Internet" icon in the "Control Panel?" If you choose the Programs tab, it'll allow you to configure which programs get used, and there's also a checkbox for IE to check to see if it's the default. I imagine if you check that box, then start IE4, it'll ask and set itself as default.

    I believe that Outlook '98 abides by this information.

    I think the Control Panel>Internet icon is created when you install IE4, and is part of their system integration. It's the same dialogue as comes up when you choose, in IE4, View>Internet options....>

    Good luck!

    Keith Irwin

    Ps. What makes it so tempting to go almost totally Microsoft is not so much the features of the individual components, but the way they work together. For instance, drag a Word doc from a window to the "Inbox" on the folder list in Outlook 98, or to the Calendar, or the Tasks item. Pretty interesting!

    You would think that the Internet icon in the Control Panel would offer that opportunity, but it does not. No index entry helps. No help entry helps. Once you choose Netscape you seem to be stuck with it. This is the horrible Microsoft that engulfs and devours? They can't even figure out how to help me defeat their enemy! I have to work at finding out how to make IE4 the default. Now I know I was offered that opportunity when I installed IE4; but apparently you will never again be given the chance. "You have spurned us. Now regret it, peasant!" So it goes.

  • From: W. ten Bosch []
  • Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 1998 2:39 AM

  • To:


  • Jerry,

    In the Control Panel, Internet Properties, Programs tab, you can tell IE to check to see whether it is the default browser. Click it on en start IE4. It will ask that if you want it as default. Works with IE3 so I think it will work with IE4.

    Good luck.

    Hurrah. That does work. It's obscure. First you check a little box easily overlooked that tells IE4 to ask to be the default. Then you open IE4, and it does ask. Then you say, yes, please, please be my default browser, and Bob's your uncle. Perfectly clear, provided that you know how to do it. Now all I have to do is figure out how to convert those Netscape bookmarks to IE4; there's nothing in the IE4 HELP on that, either. This is the rapacious Microsoft? They sure make it hard to be absorbed. Resistance isn't futile, it's the default!

    My next problem was converting the bookmarks from Netscape to "favorites" in IE4. And--

  • From: W. ten Bosch []

    Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 1998 5:11 AM


    Subject: RE: CHAOSMANORMAIL (A) (A)


    Hereby a little program to convert Netscap bookmarks to IE favorites.

    Good Luck



  • Wim ten Bosch

    tel. +31 30 252 6340

    fax. +31 30 252 7045


  • ===============================

    That did it. So I now have been absorbed. More over in view. 


    From: Jim Lee []
    Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 1998 1:31 AM

    Hello again, 


    "I got Active-X Script errors, something about parent/child is not an object, do I want to continue running Active X script on this site? It doesn't matter what answer I give, nothing useful is going to happen."


    I AM SOOOOO GLAD that this problem has happened to someone who may be able to get it fixed. (at least you have a much better chance than I did)

    I am a long time user of Microsoft products (all the way back to C-128 BASIC) and several Versions of Office Professional through the years so I automatically chose IE 3.x when I started browsing.

    I installed IE4.0 when it was released (post BETA) and started having "script" problems. I notified MS and their answer implied that it was a conflict on my end, not inherent to their product. I have switched to Netscape because it seems to be more stable, even though I really prefer to work with the MS products.


    Hope you can get IE 4.x fixed up for the rest of us.

    Jim Lee


    All I can say is that I certainly got Active X errors. First I was offered the chance to do Active X with a program certified by Microsoft not to have borgs, uh, bugs and viruses. I accepted the offer. Not long after, things stopped working properly. I'll try again another time, but just at the moment I'm a little discouraged...

  • From: Christophe Dupre []
  • Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 1998 2:27 AM

  • To:


  • Hi,

    first of all, keep up the got work - I was an avid reader of Byte (and your collumn, which usually made me buy new hardware...). I especially like reading about your struggling with Windows' quirks and instability (I'm a Unix fan who usually need to reboot his computer every 6 months or so to upgrade the hardware). Rest assured that I will send my $10 as soon as you find a way for foreign readers to do so.

    Anyway, I'm looking for a way to upgrade my computer. It's a PPro-200, and I'd like to upgrade to a Dual PPro. My question is, is it possible to use two processors, each with a different amount of L2 cache ? (mine has 256Kb, but if I buy a new one it would be at least a 512 Kb one). No salesperson or tech support has been able to answer that question. Do you have any dual-PPro motherboard to recommend ? I would also need more than 4 SIMM slots, so I could recycle my current memory (4x32 Mb).

    I don't know. Larry Aldridge at PC Power and Cooling probably knows. Or maybe one of the readers. I confess I never thought about it.


    Wednesday, June 24, 1998

    First a selection of mail on bookmark conversions. Thanks to all who responded. There are far too many to put them all up, but anyone with the problem can now solve it with one or more of these. Thanks to everyone!

  • From: Phil Bridges []

    Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 1998 11:14 AM


    Subject: ChaosManorMail

  • Hello Jerry,

    I subscribed to BYTE mostly to read Chaos Manor. Although I miss BYTE, I do have to say I like your new forum better. ;). Virtually realtime Pournelle! Yay!

    You'd asked about converting your bookmarks over to IE4, I've attached a good utility for that. In case the attachment fails, here's the URL where this can be found.... 62. Live Long and Prosper!

  • Best Regards,

    Phil Bridges

  • (See attached file:

    From: Thomas W. Scheck []
    Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 1998 9:40 AM
    Subject: ChaosManorMail : Importing bookmarks



    Found this sight offering a program to import Netscape bookmarks.



    There is also an html version of your Netscape bookmarks in


    C:\Program Files\Netscape\User\(your user name)\bookmark.html.


    Hope this helps,


  • From: Myers, Clark E []

    Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 1998 12:01 PM

    To: ''

    Subject: Bookmark converter - looking for you to tell me a better way

  • > Link to download freeware utility from PC World:


    > To convert bookmarks I do it manually. The Netscape bookmark file is a > text/HTML file you can load in Microsoft and click on successive > bookmarked links, browse to the site and click add. >

    > There are shareware/freeware utilities. One freeware is bmconv25.exe > from Magnus Brading available from the PC World online Fileworld > shareware collection. I have not used it. Doing things manually is > often about as fast as finding/writing something to automate a rare > process. I do prefer freeware to shareware for rare use as well, given > the administrative hassles of paying small amounts. >

    > Bookmark > Converter > Convert your favorite > sites bidirectionally > between Navigator > and IE. Bookmark > Converter also > converts bookmarks > remotely over a > network. > > > DOWNLOAD > bmconv25.exe > 1 MB > 9m * > > > *estimated download time > (based on 28.8 modems) >

    > > > Clark

  • From: David Von Bargen []
    Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 1998 10:07 AM
    Subject: Converting Bookmarks and Favorites

    PC Magazine published a program (SyncURL) in their tech section that takes Internet Explorer Favorites and converts them to Netscape Bookmarks and vice versa. It is only about a 300K Zip file to download.  

  • From: Robert Bruce Thompson []
  • Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 1998 9:13 AM

  • To: 'Jerry Pournelle'

  • Subject: How to convert Netscape bookmarks to IE4

  • <<Now all I have to do is figure out how to convert those Netscape bookmarks to IE4>> Here's how to do it one by one:

  • 1. Start IE4, and choose File - Open.

    2. Browse to locate the Netscape Bookmark.htm file (probably in \Program Files\Netscape\Users\default\Bookmark.htm ).

    3. Right click a bookmark to display the context sensitive menu and then choose Add to Favorites. You can choose Create In to put it in a Favorites folder.

    4. Repeat step 3 for each bookmark you want to convert to a favorite.

  • You can also do it wholesale by downloading the Bookmarks Converter tool from Microsoft. The filename is winbm2fv.exe. Regards.

  • Bob

    Robert Bruce Thompson


  • Which ought to tell everyone more than they need to know on this subject. Thanks to all!

    From: Brian DeRosier []
    Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 1998 3:53 AM
    Subject: Is CMP business savy?

    Mr. Pournelle,

        I have been reading your column regularly for some time now.  The years have come and gone as has technological changes in the computer industry. The one constant that Byte magazine had was your column. I looked forward to receiving my issue every month. In fact, I would not have paid for a subscription, if it wasn't for your monthly column. I know there has to be others, many others, that feel this way. If CMP had any notion of producing a large profit, they would keep those who made Byte Magazine what it was. I am a manager for a nation-wide company myself. My company caters to some 10+ million customers yearly. These customers chose my company because of the people I employ. I would not have my job very long if I let go some of my key employees. What is CMP thinking? If they don't bring back your column along with a couple others, they will lose my business as well as a few thousand others I am sure. Please keep your web page updated as to your future endeavors. I hope if CMP doesn't see the light, then another magazine will hire your services. If this becomes true then whomever that magazine is gets another customer.



    Brian DeRosier

    I expect I am the wrong one to comment here. All I can say is that to the best of my knowledge, none of the former BYTE people have received any offers from CMP. Most of us have got offers from CMP rivals, and I gather there may be an effort by CMP editorial people to hire individual BYTE editors for specific magazines. Certainly the only contact I have had with CMP has been over their buying out my contract. Stay well, Jerry

  • From:
  • Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 1998 8:04 PM

  • To:

  • Subject: NU problem

  • From: Arnie Berger <>

  • Org: Applied Microsystems

  • Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 13:42:46 -0700

  • Subj: Norton Utilities 3.0, Another Viewpoint

  • ____________________________________________________________

    Dear Jerry,

    I've followed your PC adventures in Byte for many years, going back to the days of the S-100 bus. I've generally been in agreement with your opinions as well. However, this time I felt a need to reply. Perhaps, its because the incident happened so close in time to my reading your column in the July 1998 issue of Byte.

    I bought the Norton Utilities 3.0 and attempted to install and use it. In my system, it reported somerthing similar to you, perhaps 30 odd problems. I told NU30 to go ahead and fix them. It chugged for a while and proceeded to crash my system so badly that I had to re-install everything. Also, it somehow trashed my warm boot vector so that the system could never restart, it just ran in an endless BIOS initialization loop that reset itself with the AWARD PnP BIOS message.

  • I was reminded of the Physician's pledge, "First, Do no harm."
  • My computer was running fine, I installed NU30 as a tool and it was like taking a sledgehammer to the instrument panel.

    I think part of it is that this software now comes from Symantec. I have purchased several Symantec applications and found them to be extremely buggy and overly complex. Yes, I could access the Symantec web site and download the latest patches and fixes, but the original stuff that is put on on the CD-ROM should, at least, install properly. I spent three weeks with them, toll calls on the phone and such to get WinFax PRO 8.0 to install and run properly. What is surprising is that the old version of WFPRO for Windows 3.0 worked just fine.

    Anyway, I am personally disappointed in NU3.0 and will not install it again. I loved the old DOS Norton Utilities and remember very fondly the hours I spend with Disk Doctor trying to recover files on my floppy disk or my 20 MByte, ST-506 drive. Obviously, things are orders of magnitude more complex now, but NU3.0, at least in my case, hasn't risen to the occasion.

  • Regards,

    Arnie Berger, PhD

    Director of R&;D

    Applied Microsystems Corporation

    Redmond, WA

  • Astonishing. I have tried NU 3 now on Royal Armadillo, Armadillo (two versions of Compaq Armada portables), CYRUS the Cyrix P-166 that no longer has a Cyrix chip (has an AMD now, mostly as an experiment), Roberta's Joizy, Fireball, and Supercow just before he got donated to the Space Access Society. In all cases it did no harm and often did good. I will say I no longer allow it to load on startup: it natters at me too much. I used to like that little system resources window from the older System Doctor, as well as the CPU use meter, but I got weary of NU finding viruses that weren't there, demanding that I subscribe to its online updates, and the like. Still, I keep it on my disk and I have invoked it several times; in every case it did no harm and often did much good. What system did you use it on?

  • From: Broyles, Bryan, MAJ., LITCTR []

    Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 1998 2:05 PM

    To: 'Jerry Pournelle'

    Subject: Norton Anti-Virus

  • I saw that another of your readers had experienced difficulties with Norton Utilities.

    I installed Norton Anti-Virus, and it found a "changed" file, and offered to fix it. I allowed it to do so, and the computer then refused to reboot. In fact, the system now reported that the harddrive wasn't formated.

    I called Norton. The answer, as I recall, was, sometimes a vfat boot partition is changed to a fat partition, resulting in your computer being unable to read the harddrive without a new formating. I asked how I could fix this. The techie replied, impatiently, you have to reformat. He said this happens, "sometimes". I expressed to him my displeasure with a protection software that would erase my harddrive, surely a result the program was designed to prevent. He reiterated that it happens sometimes, and acknowledged it wasn't mentioned in the manual.

    I reformated, and began the laborious process of reinstalling from my backups. I lost 2 days of online bank transactions because at that time I backed up every 3 days. Now I back up my financial transactions after every transaction. I did NOT re-install Norton Anti-Virus.

    Now, I use Norton's competitors, not because they are better, but because I got burned. I guess this is how competition thrives.

    MAJ Bryan Broyles

    Interesting if tragic. If I have not made it clear, I use Dr. Solomon's Anti-Virus. Have for years, and I have never lost a file, or had any virus problems. Actually I've had little trouble with virus to begin with. There was the memorable night in Las Vegas during the BYTE editorial meeting to determine Best of COMDEX when all the laptops in use in the meeting were infected with the WORD virus that turns files into templates. That took a call to Peterborough to clean up. Of course it didn't happen to my machine: I wasn't swapping floppies with people. I have also several times in the old days been given review copies of software only to find that someone in the copy house that made the disks infected them with STONED. Apparently for a while it was traditional for copy house employees to do that for their customers. Made for great customer relations. But in fact no wild virus has ever got onto one of my machines, thanks to Dr. Solomons. Thanks for the story. I hadn't heard that "it happens"; I wonder if Symantec management knows their techs have such a cavalier attitude toward what I would take as a very serious problem?

  • From: Ken Cotton []

    Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 1998 3:44 PM


    Subject: ChaosManorMail

  • After reading your last column where you praised NU3.0 thought that I ought to write and tell you that I didn't have such a nice experience.

    Just read that I'm not alone just had to click on your mailto: to let you know.

    It's the only software that I have ever returned. Once I got rid of it I was able to find the problems that it was reporting, but had done nothing to help me solve and had made it even harder to narrow down.


    Again, I can only report that for me it has done more good than harm, and by a lot; I do wonder what configurations are mostly likely to be messed up? And we still need a good registry editor. W 98 may solve some of these problems, although my experience has been that it mucks up a lot of equipment like CD R/W that I need. Sigh.


    From: Dave Farquhar []

    Sent: Thursday, June 25, 1998 1:44 PM



  • Jerry,

    Your problems with the sluggish 486 sound familiar. I thought I'd offer my suggestions. By the way, I really enjoy the new online Chaos Manor and I look forward to you working out a payment method.

    I've noticed that Norton Utilities for Windows 95 (I have experience with versions 2 and 3) can make a pretty big difference on a system with an aging hard drive. Run Speed Disk, but don't accept the defaults. Have it sort the files by last access date, grouped by week. Files that you access all the time move toward the front of the disk, where access is faster. Files that you never touch (Windows 95 has plenty of those) move to the slow part of the disk, where they belong.

    Of course, initially running Speed Disk with these settings takes forever. So wait until you've had enough with writing for the day, then clean up the disk with Disk Doctor, run Speed Disk, turn off the monitor, and go on your way. The system will be faster in the morning.

    If you've got Norton Utilites 3.0 or Nuts &; Bolts, use the registry optimizing tools while you're at it.

    Then there's the old trick of telling Win95 it's a network server. Go into Control Panel --> System --> Performance --> File System and change "Typical role of this machine" to Network Server. If you're running Win95a, you'll need to patch the registry, since 95a sets the server settings incorrectly. Run Regedit, and scroll down to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Current Version\FSTemplates\Server\. NameCache needs to be A9 0A 00 00, while PathCache needs to be 40 00 00 00. Win95a has them reversed.

    Of course, throwing newer hardware at the problem often helps. If you've got another old IDE drive kicking around somewhere that isn't doing anything, putting it in the system and putting Win95's swap file there (and maybe putting Word there as well) will boost performance.

    None of these things will turn Old Cow into a Pentium, but they'll at least make Word load faster.

  • Regards,
  • Dave Farquhar

  • Network Support Specialist

  • Missouri School of Journalism



  • From:

    Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 1998 8:04 PM


    Subject: candidate

    From: "Laiacona, George Web Graphics" <>

    Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 08:16:29 -0500

    Subj: Comments about the 'View'

  • ____________________________________________________________

    Mr. P.

    I use IE4 at work, and Outlook. However, I installed Outlook for my Father's new system, and he prefers Netscape. No problem. I am also trying to teach him spreadsheets and how to work the "damn things", but he is 53 and doesn't take too quickly to new stuff. He can see, however, how technology can improve his work flow on the job, and tasked me to set it up. Thus, the Outlook / Netscape combo. He was also a Word Perfect fan. So, to sum it up, IE4 isn't really necessary if you don't want it.

    Y2K is not as bad a problem as one would think. Banks are right on top of it; they don't want you to draw out any money, they would then loose the use of it for a short period, and if EVERYONE drew out money, there would be problems. The date problem just isn't that important. Most, if not all systems will just hum along, oblivious to the fact that they are now a century behind. A two digit date field is just such a minor problem, maybe a little large for the financial institutions, but not much for others. Scheduled events would fail, but I don't know of any nuclear reactors that schedule themselves to not melt down.

    While on the road, make up a couple of new DUN icons, for the most common locations, and name them appropriately. No misdials would happen after that (depending on the names you gave your shortcuts).

    As ever, thanks for your excellent work and dedication, you don't really have to do it.

  • // George Laiacona

    // Programmer, Network Engineer

    // Web Graphics, New York


  • Thanks for the kind words. I know I don't have to do it, and my wife points out I haven't been doing anything like as much fiction as I should. I'll have to be a LOT more selective in displaying and answering mail. Allocation of time, and all that. Darnell says the new data base driven system will be done Real Soon Now and then I won't have to work so hard at this. We'll see. Stay well, Jerry

  • From: William Cox []

    Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 1998 3:17 PM



  • Afternoon, Jerry.

    Enjoyed your July column, though I'm still waiting to hear about your wife's web site as well. A similar site was just reported at MacInTouch <>. You might want to have her contact Ric Ford in re same.

    While I was reading your rundown of the CMP SNAFU, I became more and more incensed. Of course, I was already that way. I heard of the acquisition from a friend at Associated Press whose wife is the Managing Editor of InformationWeek Online. My immediate assumption was that this was the end of the world as we know it, or at least of unbiased technical journalism in the computer field, and your report seems to bear that out.

    I wonder if I'll bother to renew my subscription now. :-(

    Maybe it would make me feel better to buy STARSWARM :-) (After all, I only just finished _King David's Spaceship_)

  • Luck,

    Will Cox


  • Of course it will make you feel better to buy Starswarm! Roberta's web page can be found in my links; she has software that will teach people to read English. It works. Every time. At least every time we know of that it has been used, and that includes all ages, many intelligence levels, many first languages, and all socio-economic levels. If you can speak a thousand or so words of English you can learn to read it. Period. As to subscribing to BYTE, think of it as a new magazine. CMP has some good magazines, and perhaps they will be able to bring out a good new one with the BYTE name. But it won't be BYTE, which was unique, and damn it, I'm about to get worked up. I better go to lunch.

    Incidentally, you caused me to take a look at King David's Spaceship at Amazon where I find it is out of print, so I have asked my agent if we can get the rights back. I know publishers who would love to keep it in print. I think I'd better check all my books. Thanks, and stay well.


    Thursday, June 25, 1998

  •  From: Robert Bruce Thompson []

    Sent: Thursday, June 25, 1998 2:11 PM

    To: 'Jerry Pournelle'

    Subject: Missing files in FP98 solved...

  • <<The important thing to note is that Front Page does not always send all

    new files created when you bring in a new object.>>

    Yep, I ran into a similar situation earlier today. I just signed up with the Associates program for my web site. I had FP98 up and was editing my Reading List page. I used IE4 to hit the page that contains all their clip art, and saved a "buy button" in my FP98 web data directory. When I tried to insert that image in the web page, the FP98 directory listing didn't show it. I looked in NT Explorer, and it was there.

    What I finally found out by experimentation is this: when you start FP98 and load a web, it does a directory listing of everything that's in the data directory, but doesn't subsequently update it automatically. FP98 is aware of new files you create in FP98 during that session, and of ones you change. It is *not* aware of any files you add from outside FP98. If you publish, any new or changed files that FP98 is responsible for get published. Any you added to the web data directory from outside FP98 don't get published. The solution is simple. Before you publish, exit FP98 and then start it up again.



  • Robert Bruce Thompson


  • Yeah, and what a commentary on the program. There appears to be no way to force it to pay attention other than to hit on the head with a hammer. On the other hand, what it does it seems to do well. I have developed a routine in which I do all the editing in Word, use Commander to kill off all the backup files Word made (lest they be uploaded to the site too) then let Front Page publish. Seems to work.

    There is a new item on using Norton Utilities and how to speed up old machines.

  • From: Ian Clark []
  • Sent: Thursday, June 25, 1998 5:21 AM

  • To: Jerry Pournelle

  • Subject: Cooperation in fact, not just words

  • Hi Jerry,

    I think you and you're readers should know this, because I am very pleasantly astonished.

    Occasionally from your email section I contact a contributor for additional information, further links etc. The "Friends of Jerry Pournelle Society" is the ONLY on-line group of people I've ever met who not only always respond positively, they pro-actively exceed your request with appropriate assistance.

    THANKS to all who visit the JerryP site.

  • Ian Clark

    Gladstone QLD Australia

  • Well, thanks to you. I do seem to attract a lively and courteous group of associates. After a while there are enough nice smart people around that no one notices I remain an irascible SOB.

  • From: David L. Ellis []

    Sent: Friday, June 26, 1998 12:58 AM


    Subject: Pageorscroll

  • Hi Dr. Pournelle,

    I have sent in my check, and I am very happy that you have decided to give this a try. It will indeed be interesting to see how many of us will be willing to actually dig up some cash to pay for your insights!

    Anyway, I just thought that I would point out a couple of other pages that I visit regularly that have similar (not exact, but similar) goals. Ric Ford's Macintouch page is a really great resource for daily quick snippets of Macintosh related news. It is at Dave Winer also has a great site with a couple of different areas. The main page ( is just his links to either other writing that interests him or more of his detailed commentary. And then there is the DaveNet ( where he just has comments about whatever strikes his fancy. These DaveNet pieces used to be hosted at the HotWired site, and are updated on a varing schedule - sometimes more than once a day and at times the same one is up for more than a week.

    Adam and Tonya Engst have been doing an electronic publication since 1988, and it is now, amoung other formats, in a web page. ( I have always liked Adam's approach to the written word presented via electonic medium, and his web page is another good example.

    Anyway, I thought you might like to visit these sites to see how some others are doing it.

    I really find that the most effective pages and the ones that I get the most out of are the ones that have a simple structure, and don't rely on busy backgrounds, layouts, and such. I also appreciate a way of going to specific dates to see what was said on Tuesday when I couldn't get to my machine for example. A clear history or index is helpful this way.

    Continued good luck with the endeavor, and do let us know if you hear anything from Compaq/Digital regarding Millicent.

    David L. Ellis

    _________________________________________________________________ Seattle, Washington

    Thanks. I have found out lately there is a thing called "rings" in which people reference each others sites in a kind of chain. I doubt I'll ever to that myself, but there's a lot going on out on the web. More than anyone could keep up with.

  • From: Heberer, Peter []

    Sent: Monday, June 22, 1998 10:35 AM

    To: ''

    Subject: site suggestion

  • Hi Jerry,

    I'm missing a sort of LINKS TO PRODUCTS page. This would be a good place to place links to all factories of stuff you're constantly recommending, like Golden Bow's VOPT, or Mijenix' ZipMagic etc.

    I'm pretty sure they would also place a link to YOUR site on their page(s) if you ask them, which would bring up a sort of "synergy" effect.

    Peter Heberer (Nidderau, Germany)

    private email:

    I'm missing those too. As well as the time or staff to do them... I really am dancing as fast as I can. If we start getting money in here, I'll have someone trace links and insert them, Thanks for giving me the chance to explain why they aren't there already.

    From: Peter N. Glaskowsky []
    Sent: Thursday, June 25, 1998 8:32 PM
    Subject: Replaced email

    Here's this email again. Third time's the charm, I hope.

    Y'know, watching you work on your site almost in real time is like watching the Web itself get going in the first few years. :-)

    Here's an incomplete answer to the "page or scroll?" question. Maybe it'll lead you in the right direction, however. You probably remember BBSs. I used to run one of the best in the country, the John Galt Line. All good BBSs had a feature that we've lost on the Web: the ability to present only the NEW material since the last time someone visited.

    There are partial solutions, especially for message boards and similar BBS-like Web sites, but so far I haven't seen a good way to view only new Web pages on a normal Web site. It seems to me that this ought to be possible using cookies and server-side Java or Active Server Pages, but I'm not savvy enough to know how. This could be accomplished by changing a page to identify the new material, or by just not displaying the new material.

    Short of presenting just the new stuff, you need to make sure everything is presented in a consistent format so readers can go through it quickly to find the new stuff, and offer a very clear way to signal where the new stuff is.

    If you're going to modify a page from day to day, make sure you modify it only at the top, or only at the bottom, and use a visually distinct font to identify changes. Red isn't a distinct font, it's a distinct color. I'd recommend using something like this between each day's section:

    <hr size="1" noshade>
    <h3><font color="#CC0000">24 June 1998</font></h3> <p>

    I'd also try harder to keep the text more consistent from one section to the next and one mail message to the next. I suppose you may just be experimenting to see what looks best, and that's okay, but I hope you plan to settle down eventually.

    If you're looking for a consistent format for mail messages and your replies, I'd try putting the headers on successive lines, then a blank line, then the body the message on successive lines, with blank lines between paragraphs. The trick is to put <br> tags between lines and an extra <br> between paragraphs; this allows the font definition to remain intact instead of breaking at <p> tags. You could try pasting this into a page to see how it looks:

    <font face="Courier New, Courier, mono" size="+1">
    From: Reader Name<br>
    Date: date<br>
    Subject: Reader letter in monospaced font<br>
    Body text text text<br>
    Next paragraph end of text</font>
    <font size="+1"><strong>Jerry replies:</strong></font>
    Jerry's reply text in the default font<p>

    I bet you can figure out some way to process your email into this format more or less automatically. BASIC would work.

    Oh, one last thing. Your table work is getting better. I'd drop the third column of the table as used on your Space Mail page, since it doesn't really contribute anything and means the viewer's browser window must be four inches wider than the text, or so. Also, be careful when mixing lots of text in tables (not for the Microsoft cell-loss reason). Most browsers can start displaying plain text pages as they come down from the Internet. Some browsers need to see all the data that goes into a table before they know how to format it, causing them to appear to load much more slowly. For example, the Mail page takes about 15 seconds to load over my T-1 connection, but the first page of it shows up immediately so I can start reading. If it was in a table, it might take 15 seconds before anything showed up, a huge difference. You can usually fix this by putting fixed column widths into your table, but if you do, make sure the total isn't more than 630 pixels.

    Oh, and something else I've noticed about your pages: you're using a lot of text which is smaller than the default Web font, which is already about as small as you can afford to use on a Web page. Size 3 is the default, but you seem to be using 2 a lot, and there are some things in size 1: "Adam and Tonya Engst" and "I have sent in my check" from your Mail page, for example.

    You should NEVER use size 1 except in footnotes about automobile leases and the like. I would also never use size 2, but I concede that it may be occasionally useful.

    . png

    (This is the real end of the message. If you don't see this, let me know. :-)

    Third attempt worked. I have the file, eliminated the old, put this in. Font sizes: I had to edit the html to get the tiny fonts out. Once Word and Front Page decide to start embedding tiny stuff in there, it don't go away. I did search and replace for size="1" to make it "2" then raised all the "2" sizes to "3". But 3 looks awfully big. Of course I have a big monitor.


  • On mail I agree, the ability to mark what's new and since when is lacking, and without cookies (which are beyond my ability too just now) I don't quite know what to do about it. I can continue to add at the bottom of each page each day, and weekly siphon off to a week file; and once in a while to try to gather all the stuff off one topic and push into a topic file. One question on that: should I delete it from where it was? That is, when this note and answer gets pulled off to the web design file/page, should it be eliminated from whatever week's mail file it came from, left there, or just do a link? Links are harder than pasting actually.

    Friday, June 26, 1998 A mixed bag that I won't be able to answer properly.

  •  From:

    Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 1998 8:03 PM


    Subject: terrabyte

    From: E Baxter <>

    Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 13:01:32 -0700 (PDT)

    Subj: I think I can do a terabyte for 25K

  • ____________________________________________________________


    I enjoyed your story about cheap disk storage; I myself have 60 gig online RAID 0 EEK!. I have done this very cheaply though. Recently I was at and saw 9 gig SCSI drives for $179 so I got five of them. I of course paid quite a bit for a DIFFERENTIAL controller as these drives were differential but overall the performance has been really good. These Quantum 9.1 Differential drives are now $139!!! I can’t believe it. I figure now I could do a 1000 gigabyte system for less than $23,000.

    My Math:

    110 drives for $139 each


    11 drives per controller at 400 bucks for a 2944uw and terminator


    3 computers with 4 PCI each for the controllers with lotsa ram 100 base-t and stuff.


  • SO for $25290 I’m crankin a terabyte

    see ya,

    Eugene Baxter



  • ______________________________________________________

    Get Your Private, Free Email at

  • Amazing. Thanks
  • From:

    Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 1998 8:04 PM


    Subject: internetity

    From: Paul Combs <>

    Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 13:40:15 -0700

    Subj: Time Spent on the Internet

  • ____________________________________________________________

    Dear Jerry:

    You’re a Westerner. Have you ever looked at one of those ranch-entrance gates that have two tall power-poles on either side and a third, high, horizontal power-pole across the top with a sign declaring the ranch’s name and wondered, "What’s the single one-word expression (probably Spanish) for that assemblage?" Well, I have and I’ve tried all sorts of sources to find it and haven’t. (One rancher whom I asked looked puzzled and said, "How about gate-posts?")

    I had the same feeling, that there should be a name for that, when I read ... in your Byte Magazine Chaos Manor article for October 1997 ... of your ambivalent feelings for seemingly wasted time spent on the Internet. Well, I have a candidate: Take the word "Internet," add a "y" to it and pronounce it so that it rhymes with "eternity."

    Voila! A new entry for The Cynic’s Dictionary:

  • INTERNETY (noun) -- "The time spent on the Internet waiting for something -- anything— to happen."
  • Thanks to you for the definition which led to the word’s being coined.

    Sincerely yours, for most of an hour every month,

    Paul Combs

    From: Ward Gerlach []
    Sent: Friday, June 26, 1998 12:31 AM
    To: Jerry Pournelle
    Subject: Book Idea?

    As if you don't have enough to do....several years ago you did up Adventures in Microland (and one other,  the title of which I cannot remember),  about the early days of the Computer Revolution.  These two were a comilation of your columns from Byte and other sources,  and they are at least partly responsible for you getting me hooked on these blasted things! 


    Yes,  it's all your fault!  (There!  Don't you feel guilty now?)


    Isn't it about time you brought them forward a few years? 


    Don't regard this as a request,  it's more of an idea that might actually pay.  In fact,  wouldn't the Adventure of the Unintentional Commercial Website be an appropriate opener,  or closer,  or something?


    And,  about your site - I like it.  Chaos Manor IS organized in a logical,  consistent fashion to present TEXT.  And text is YOUR tool.  You don't need whizzbangs or foofaraws,  you deal in ideas and adventures best described in words.


    Regards......Ward Gerlach

    It's time and past time, and now what? I really am dancing as fast as I can. I used to have an editor to do a lot of this stuff. Oh well.

    And now a bit of shameless self promotion...

  • From: Ian Clark []

    Sent: Friday, June 26, 1998 5:41 AM

    To: Jerry Pournelle

    Subject: Attention International Readers

  • of Jerry Pournelle’s Science Fiction.

    The link is fixed. I just bought Starswarm from USA, including delivery, for US $22.72 (AU 37.86), which is AU$18.50, EXcluding delivery, less than I could have bought it locally.

    Sure, I’ll have to wait a month or so, but it beats not having it at all hands down.

    PS Recommendation. I hadn’t read "Beowulf’s Children" because I didn’t like "Legacy of Heorot". Just read Beowulf ‘cause it was all that was there at the right time. GREAT BOOK. You don’t need the first and its much different. Give it a go.

    Thank’s Jerry and Amazon. We’re all happy.


  • IanC

    Gladstone QLD


     From: Eric Pobirs []

    Sent: Friday, June 26, 1998 5:51 AM

    To: Discontinuity Group

    Subject: ActiveX script errors?



  • Jerry, are you sure those weren’t Java Script errors? I don’t think I’ve ever seen an ActiveX script error since scripting is a separate element from that.

    The most common cause is that a site is overly Netscape-centric and uses a command or structure from the latest Communicator for which Microsoft hasn’t had time to acheive parity. Sometimes it’s an area where the two companies have diverged in their ideas on how to advance browser design. Netscape has a feature called layers that doesn’t have a direct equivalent in IE4 (although there are DHTML methods to get largely the same effects without incompatibilities) and this is a surefire way to cause a scripting error.

    I haven't been able to reproduce the error, but when I first went to the Microsoft site for Netscape users, I got script errors. I was first asked if I wanted to allow an Active X thing to run on my machine. I was then asked if I always wanted to trust Microsoft active x programs. I allowed this one, but I declined the affirmation of faith. Maybe Microsoft got mad at me for that? But the next time I went back to that site, it all worked.

  • From: Chris GIlks [csgilks@RA.ROCKWELL.COM]

    Sent: Friday, June 26, 1998 6:22 AM



  • Jerry,

    I’ve been scanning the Chaos Manor site this morning looking for your snail-mail address to send you a cheque (it will have to be by mail, as I am in Canada). I know that the mail address was there somewhere on previous visits, but I can’t seem to locate it now (Friday 26 June, am). Could you please post it somewhere obvious, or e-mail it back to me. At least in Canada, we can write a cheque in US$, and there is only a small premium for the exchange. Please keep up the good work, and, by the way, if your interested, look up for info on Steve Ciarcia and Circuit Cellar (I know that you have all kinds of time to do this!)

    Chris Gilks

    Glad to:

  • Dr. Jerry E. Pournelle


    12358 Ventura Blvd. Box 372

    Studio City, CA, 91604

  • There's a bit more here. And we have in fact been getting some money. Not a lot, but some.

    Saturday, June 27, 1998

  • From: Mark Allums []

    Sent: Saturday, June 27, 1998 6:36 PM


    Subject: NEWCHAOS

  • Dr. Pournelle!

    Well, you’re asking for it. Literally.

    MHO (my humble opinion) on the Byte thing is—with the exception of your column, of course, :) -- good riddance.

    I noticed about 4 years ago that Byte was evolving. It seemed to be the the editors were reading too many IT newspapers, e.g., InfoWeek. It began to get away from the small systems ideal.

    I see now that Steve Ciarca’s leaving was a harbinger. Thanks to the March of Progress, the hardware hobbiest’s days were numbered, to the point that now, only the truly hardcore electronics whiz may apply. And most of those guys are guys like Ciarcia, who are already EE’s. Amateurs like me are lost. Any component with more than three pins on it is a magical black box, for all I know. But I digress.

    When the Circuit Cellar was turned into a rec-room, that marked the turning point. Slowly, over the time since, the long, rambling, in-depth articles became fluffy one-pagers. Byte stopped talking about computer science and theory, and started talking about technology. Instead of talking about technology, Byte began talking about marketing. All too often, instead of talking about programming, it talking about programs.

    Is the above paragraph too subtle? I guess what I want to say is that Byte lost its vitality. It became too timeLY; not timeLESS enough. Too much hype and excitement. Some of the cover stories were actually *sensational*.

    The rumor has it that Byte will become a programming journal. That would be a mistake. We already have Dr. Dobbs. There are already too many programming journals. A new Byte would be lost in the crowd. I doubt the name alone would carry it.

    I think that Byte is, if not a dinosaur, then a woolly mammoth. (Not that I am advocating the likes of Wired, or anything remotely similar—

    Heaven forbid!) It should go to that great newsstand in the sky.

    I liked the old Byte for its experimental, tinkering flavor. Your Chaos Manor on the Web attempts have some of that, and I kinda like it.

  • Mark Allums

    Somewhere in Texas


  • Well, I can't agree. I think Tom Halfhill's technology articles were as fine as anything BYTE ever did. We may not have been all you wanted, but we were a lot better than anyone else. Ciarcia left over money issues. I would have kept him if it had been up to me, but he was asking for a lot more than they were paying me at the time and I didn't think I should quit over the issue. As to turning Circuit Cellar into a Rec Room, you'll have to ask Steve, since they had no more control over what he wrote than they did over me, which is to say, none.

    Much of the rambling tech talk had to go because while readers loved it, ad agencies wouldn't buy ads. McGraw Hill insulates editors from advertisers, but publishers have to find ads or die. BYTE tried a lot of things in the hopes of gaining more paid space without losing our soul. As to timelessness, in this era is that possible? Things flow here so. Thanks, and stay well, Jerry

  • From: Mark Allums []

    Sent: Saturday, June 27, 1998 5:42 PM


    Subject: Pageorscroll

  • Dr. Pournelle!

    My ISP is nuts about disconnecting me after 60 seconds of "inactivity." (It is very frustrating.) For that reason, I like to load article pages and read them offline. If I must get two or three dozen small pages, this defeats the purpose, and I also become paranoid about whether I have seen everything there is to see.

    A few well-thought-out long pages are better than many hyperlinked short ones. In my experience, the difference in download times is negligible, especially for pages that are mostly text.

    In fact, it actually *saves* time (and hassle) because most of those news sites sprinkle ads and images everywhere. A new banner ad loads every time you move to a new page. There is an unavoidable net delay for every anchor link to a separate page. Besides, with a long page, I don’t need to spend time worrying and making descisions about what to do next.

    My two cents.

    Best of luck (esp. after the BYTE thing),

  • Mark Allums

    Somewhere in Texas, 27 March, 1998

  • Thanks. Good point.


  •  From: Eric Pobirs []
  • Sent: Monday, June 15, 1998 2:41 PM

  • To: Discontinuity Group

  • Subject: Are there any clues with airbags for Nader?




  • I have to wonder. Has Ralph Nader ever consulted any experienced business operators about the difference between commodity and custom products? Has he ever noticed the difference in choices between ordering at McDonald’s and a place like Solley’s? [Solley's is the deli where the LASFS members meet after the meeting. Ed.]

    I’m really baffled by the drivers reference. Outside of the small amount of hardware it produces, how can Microsoft keep anybody from producing drivers for other OSes? I’d be very surprised if a company like Diamond or ATI turned away anybody looking to help them gain market share and largely at no cost. I doubt Microsoft perceives enough of a threat to feel that pressuring companies to withhold documentation is worth any effort. Some hacker in Finland will just reverse engineer the device for kicks if he sees enough requests on Usenet. This has already happened numerous times when exhorbitant licensing fees were at issue.

    Precisely. Thanks.