Saturday, June 16, 2001

03:04 AM

WEEK THREE June 28 - July 5, 1998




book-around-world.gif (4312 bytes)

ThIS PAGE HAS BECOME ACCURSED also.. I cannot control the widths any longer. It goes way out to the right, I can do nothing about it, and I do not intend to work on it any longer. If anyone can see why nothing I can do, including changing the HTML code, will let this this thing be a normal width please do. For the rest I have done what I can, I HATE this, I am not a publisher, and I am about to give up. I KNOW it is too wide.

To heck with it. I even tried Dream weaver. It can't find what is wrong either. This whole acticity is accursed.

I fixed it by pasting some of the stuff to another page. Whatever was indigestible is in there. PLEASE DO NOT SENT ME HTML FILES.  From here on in I will refuse to include an html format file in anything I do. I have had nothing but grief from doing that. Perhaps after I learn HTML better, but frank.y that is not high on my list of things to learn.

Peter Glaskowsky has looked and found some lines that may be too long with indenting. I will see what I can do about that. Make shorter separators. And tomorrow starts a new mail, so perhaps the crisis is over.

It looks as if I have solved the problem but these are primitive tools.

THE AIM SITUATION is below. Well, actually it's on another page. Whatever was in it was what was causing my inability to narrow this page. The strange thing is that putting it over there seems to have fixed it. I'm working on fixing this one.

OUTLOOK problems below.


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

  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. I continue to work on organization. We'll see.

To jump to current entry assuming I moved the bookmark, click HERE.

Monday, June 29, 1998
  • From: Mark Allums []

    Sent: Monday, June 29, 1998 12:37 AM


    Subject: Re: NEWCHAOS

  • Dr. Pournelle!

    I’ve read that novelists are often more surprised than their readers at the direction their stories take. The plot sometimes seems to have a will of its own. What I didn’t know was that it can happen to short letters too.

    I was surprised to see my mail show up on on your site. When it did, I took an opportunity to reread what I had to say about the BYTE fiasco. What I said was not what I meant. I tend to use a lot of visual imagery in my thinking, and for that reason, I rely too heavily on metaphor. It can lead to trouble.

    Let me say that in spite of my words to the contrary, I will sorely miss BYTE.

    By saying that Circuit Cellar was turned into a rec room, I was going for a (rather shallow) cellar metaphor. I didn’t intend to imply that the column became frivolous or lost quality. No slight to Mr. Ciarcia or BTYE was in my mind at all when I wrote that. I meant only that the column had been discontinued, and the space used for something else, like a family converting a garage into a den. I used Circuit Cellar as an example to pinpoint the timing. The (IMHO) dubious changes in the magazine began happening at about the same time that Mr. Ciarcia left. Or at least, that’s when I started noticing.

    You commented that BYTE was still the best thing out there doing what it did. I contend that it was the *only* thing out there doing what it did. Dare I compare BYTE to a water monopoly empire, impervious to the outside, but rotting from within?

    Well, no. That’s really stretching the analogy. And yet... it’s a seductive notion.

    Speaking of Tom Halfhill, I agree with what you said. Along with your column, he was what I looked forward to when the magazine arrived in my mailbox.

    Speaking of the magazines folding:

    When I was a teenager, I subscribed to Popular Electronics and Radio Electronics. One year, I accidentally allowed my subscription to PE lapse. I resubscribed the very next month, and I bought the current issue on the newsstand, expecting to miss an issue or two. I needn’t have bothered. When it arrived in the mail, it turned out to be three issues, all of which I already had. About a week later, I got two more issues, one of which I already had. A short time later, I rececived two identical issues of Radio Electronics, and a letter which said that PE had closed and for the four issues remaining on my subscription, I would get Radio Electronics instead.

    Follow the math: 12 issues PE paid for

    • 5 issues PE received
    • 1 issue Radio Electronics received
    • 6 unmailed issues of PE/RE

    Where did the other two issues go? You got me.

    I wrote to Radio Electronics to try to get the double issue thing straightened out, but all I got for my rouble was a third copy of that same issue. Not long after, Radio Electronics went under, too. I got one issue of a new magazine I never heard of, and then nothing. No refunds, not even a postcard. Some time later, I noticed that both magazines had new issues on the newsstands. I never figured whether they were really the same magazines, or different magazines with the same names.

    What does all this have to do with Byte? About eighteen months ago, I accidently let my subscription to BYTE lapse. I followed the same course of action I did wtih PE. When I recieved my first issue, what did I get? Back issues! It wasn’t as bad as the previous incident, as I never got three issues on the same day. It was then, though, that I suspected Byte might be in trouble. I guess that back issues for new subscribers are a trick that many struggling magazines use.

    Or, I could be wrong. I’ve been wrong before. It *has* happened. :)

    In any event, let me repeat, that I *do* miss BYTE.

  • Sincerely,

    Mark Allums, Somewhere in Texas, 29 June 1998


  • I suspected you meant as much. Thanks. The subscription fulfillment department was not under our control after about 1984, and caused us a lot of grief. We used to spend a lot of editorial time banging on McGraw Hill corporate about readers with subscription complaints. Sometimes we did some good. Best wishes, all's well, pass friend. Jerry

  • From: Carl Miller []

    Sent: Saturday, June 27, 1998 7:13 PM



  • Mr. Pournelle,

    Funny, I had the same problem when first starting FrontPage. Took me about 5 tries to realize I should re-boot.

    Have you tried WebExpress? ( I tried the "timed" version of FrontPage when it first came out. I was almost ready to spend the outrageous sum (for me anyway) on the full version, when I decided to try WebExpress. Costs something like 1/3 the price of FrontPage, is a very good WYSIWYG web editor, will link you straight to Notepad for "plain text" editing, and the browser of your choice for "real time" previewing. Plus, and this is the kicker for me, it only takes a fraction of the disk space and doesn’t require that resource hogging personal web server crap!

    I believe simpler is better, when it does just as good of a job. If you have the time, give it a try. Of course, your mileage may vary.

    (Been enjoying reading you for years, by the way. Watched the slow decline of Byte. Damn shame, really.)



  • Carl Miller

  • I used Web Express and even recommended it in the column. Roberta kept her web site up with it, too, but two things happened. First, they upgraded it, and the upgrade didn't work with my NT system: it simply could not find the directory tree, so any attempt to browse closed the program. Ungood. They claim that they never had any such problem with Web Express on their own systems and I can believe them but my COMPAQ dual processor is not unstandard, and it blew it sky high.

    Then the review copies we had, which were supposed to be the shipping copy, expired. I have a policy of not reviewing demos. If my readers are going to buy something, I do not want anything but what my readers will buy. Finding that I had a demo was, frankly, infuriating. In any event, I am learning Front Page. After I learn it I will play with Dreamweaver. Darnell likes Net Objects Fusion, but the only version of that we have is for the Mac. Some readers like Hot Metal Pro. There is, in a word, no shortage of web tools to work with...

    Consider this a separator line



    From: Jim Lee []

    Sent: Sunday, June 28, 1998 12:54 AM


    Subject: Queries

    Hello again,

    As far as the format goes, both (wide &; "Win 98") are fine and quite readable. Since the Windows 98 section reads well, why not use the area to the left for paid advertisements? The first thing you could put there is your pitch for $10.00 and your address for all to see all the time. As you get other advertisers, you could give them all a "billboard" spot on the side, up to xx advertisers per topic (win 98 in this case) per month. You will have more topics (Chaos Manor, EM, etc) as time goes on so more spots for advertisers.

    Please keep up the good work. I wish you had mega bucks pouring in from the web site so you could do this full time. (and I will be sending a check "real soon now". Your site has already earned that much.)

    Best wishes,

    Jim Lee

    Thanks. As to advertisers, one of these days we'll go looking for some. For the moment this is a good money losing hobby. I'm still trying to figure out why Word will not see cell backgrounds while Front Page does. It's infuriating.

      ==There used to be a line here but I got tired ot the format problems.==

    From: Murray Dundas []

    Sent: Monday, June 29, 1998 12:44 PM




    Maybe it’s just me, but when I scroll towards the end of the mail section, lines of text begin to overlap eachother and it grows worse until, at the end, the entire screen is almost black with text overwrites. I have no such problem on any other web site, nor have I on any other. Perhaps a font you’re using is messing with things? I’m using a Cirrus video card at 1024x768 resolution.

    Just wanted you to know.

    Murray Dundas

    Do we still have that problem? I don't see it.

    • From: Phil Bridges []

      Sent: Monday, June 29, 1998 11:44 AM



    • Hello Jerry,

      I’d read on your page about how to kill NT 4.0. There is a permanent cure: a permanent swap file. In the virtual memory settings, make the min and max swap file sizes the same, and voila! a permanent swap file! This ensures enough room for windows to swap without allowing any nasty drive-filling apps to kill it. It works for all the workstations in my domain, as well as servers!

      Please keep up the great work on the site, it’s great being able to keep up with Chaos Manor happenings even though Byte is gone. Thanks for everything,

      Best Regards,

      Phil Bridges

      Thanks. Several have written on this. It's the kind of thing I knew but had forgotten; as Samuel Johnson said, men seldom need educating but they often need reminding.

    • From: Tim of Angle []

      Sent: Monday, June 29, 1998 5:31 PM


      Subject: Amazing Amaxon

    • So put the Amazon link prominently on the "View from Chaos Manor" page (for which I already have a bookmark). I buy stuff there regularly, and if I can dump some money in the lap of one of my favorite writers thereby, that works for me....

      Hmm. I'll have to think on that one. Why not? With fair warning, of course. But would Amazon object?

    • From: David A. Adair []

      Sent: Friday, June 26, 1998 9:14 AM

      To: Jerry Pournelle

      Subject: Things that may interest you

    • You may want to change, or create your own themes for FrontPage 98, and it isn’t toooo hard to do. Check out the FrontPage 98 software developers kit at: To keep up with all the goings on with MS Office check out Woodie’s site at: he has lot’s of useful info, and a weekly newsletter (free for the asking).

      Enjoyed Starswarm, even if I’m not used hardcover books anymore.

      David A. Adair

      I need to get around on the web more. In my copious free time... thanks.

    • From: Eric Pobirs []

      Sent: Friday, June 26, 1998 5:36 AM

      To: Discontinuity Group

      Subject: REgarding Chris Dupre's question



    • Until you get into the more exotic high-end stuff it is critical that SMP systems have identical processors. The cache may not be as critical as clock speed but it’s still bound to introduce weirdness from differences in execution. Remember the S stands for symmetric.

      Of course I knew that. And needed reminding...

    • From: R. Paul Hampson []

      Sent: Friday, June 26, 1998 6:40 AM

      To: ''

      Subject: re page size

    • Both large and small pages have been used and both have their good and bad points. I think in general the smaller pages work better BUT, I know I find it very frustrating to have to click on page after page to read one "article," ala CNET and most of the magazine pages I’ve seen. Jon Carrol (at has a printer friendly version available for his columns that I like. Well placed links to additional info are nice if not carried to extremes, just like foot notes work okay in well written pieces. Takes the balanced judgement of a good writer, but you ought to do okay there.

      All in all, I think it’s more a matter of judgement based on the page contents rather than a simple short vs long page decision. I would guess that short initial pages leading to complete articles, topics, etc. would work best for this reader.

      Short side note: Bummer about Byte. Thanks for your web site. I look forward to your comments and adventures, as well as the sci-fi where I originally "met" you.

    • Paul

    • All true, but harder to implement than it looks. But we do keep trying. Thanks.

      Wednesday, July 01, 1998

      I have been sick'n airy dog the last day or so. Got a bit behind. If WORD doesn't stop eliminating my nice parchment effects in the stupid cells I am going to go berserk. Front Page is slower than glue, and Word eats my code. BAH!

    • From: Chris Fullerton []

      Sent: Monday, June 29, 1998 12:23 PM


      Subject: Queries

    • To reduce the filesize of the inbox &; trash, you need to have the netscape mail window open. Then, under the file menu, there should be two options: Empty Trash, and Compress Folders. A couple of warnings, though (this is just my experience, and of course in no way is anything ‘officially’ from Netscape) - if you have large file attachments in the trash, the compress sometimes get confused, and you have to delete the two trash.* files. Also, emptying the trash will automatically compress all the folders.

      Compressing is like disk defragging - it should be done on a regular basis.

      Hope this helps!



      Chris Fullerton

      International Web Engineer -

      Thanks to all those who pointed this out. That certainly works. Went down by almost 100 megabytes!

    • From: Ed Martz []

      Sent: Saturday, June 27, 1998 9:45 AM


      Subject: ChaosManorMail

    • Hello Jerry,

      I am really enjoying the new site. On the subject of tables versus frames, I have always preferred sites that use tables. You can set up a table to fill the width of a browser window. Just set the width parameter in the table tag to 100% (i.e. <TABLE WIDTH0%>). You can then set fixed widths for your margin columns and let the text column expand and contract as needed. I did this on my company’s site ( and it works fine. The only caveat is that you need to have at least one full line of text in the unfixed column or the margin columns ignore their WIDTH specifications and expand to fill the space.

      On another, older subject, I still use Microsoft Imager, which came with the pre-Win95 version of Office, as my image browser. It is a much better tool than the Wang Imager that ships with Win95, and works fine under Win95.

      Keep up the good work. The 10 bucks is in the mail.

    • Best Regards,

      Ed Martz


    • Thanks. See next also.

    • From: Ed Martz []
      Sent: Wednesday, July 01, 1998 9:06 PM
      Dear Jerry,
    • In my earlier message about using a Table WIDTH parameter of 100%, I said,
    • "The only caveat is that you need to have at least one full line of text in the unfixed column or the margin columns ignore their WIDTH specifications and expand to fill the space."
    • To which you replied in the Web Site Construction column,
    • "I am not sure what you mean by one full line of text. A line of dashes, perhaps, over in a narrow edge table?"
    • Sorry, I wasn't very clear (and it turns out I wasn't totally correct). Assume that you set up a table with 100% width and two columns:  a margin column with a specified, fixed width, and a body column with no width specified. If there is enough text in the body column so that the lines of text wrap around, everything works fine, and the body column will expand or contract to fit the browser window. However, if the maximum width of the text lines and images in the body column is less than the available width (i.e. the width of the browser window minus the width of the margin column), Navigator does not render the two columns of the table correctly. The margin column will expand to partially fill the unused space in the body column, despite having a fixed width.
    • I assumed this behavior also occurred in Internet Explorer, but when I tried this today with IE 3.0 for the first time, it rendered the table correctly regardless of how much text was in the body column, so it appears to be a "Netscape only" weird behavior. As a long time Netscape advocate, all I can say is, "Omigosh, maybe resistance really is futile!" It does demonstrate the value of using both browsers to check pages prior to publishing them.
      Best regards,
    • Ed Martz
    • Resistance is futile. We slowly learn. But it's a major pain trying to view thins with two different browsers and I won't always have time to do it.



    • From: Jay Woods []
    • Sent: Monday, June 29, 1998 12:18 PM
    • To: Jerry Pournelle

      The fixed width of THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR has been irritating me since the browser is never the right size. If the table width is changed to 100% and the horizontal rules are changed to some percentage of 100% (I eliminated the width for them and let the browser default a reasonable size), it now works for whatever the size of my (netscape v3.04 gold) browser actually is.



      I keep trying. This is all major arcana... Have I fixed it?

      I clearly don't know how to do it nor do the editor tools I have know. I am about to give up. This web publishing is not for prime time.

    • From: Andy G. []
      Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 1998 12:31 AM
      Subject: Picture page,etc
      Hi Jerry!
       Been reading your column since 80. Miss it. This site is just as good,tho.
      Comment:If you find time you might want to put the pictures on the picture page into thumbnails; that way one can click on them to view whatever one wants (very useful once more pix are up). The page takes forever to download for us poor 28.8kbs users.
      Question:Do you know of a good,simple, and cheap (things are real tight around here just now) program that converts simple wordpad text to HTML format?
      Thanks for taking time if you can. Keep it up - need daily dose of sense.
      BTW - For a pretty good magazine also check out 'boot'; which will be 'maximumPC' next issue. Not bad.
      AG ;-)


      I have done the pictures that way. Front Page sucks big time for many things, but it does that one well. As for the tools you want, I don't have much experience with such; I use WORD and Front Page, neither of which can be thought cheap. Best regards, Jerry

    • From: Paul Filsinger []

      Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 1998 8:29 PM

      To: ''


    • Hi Jerry!

      It was a surprise to find out about Byte. I didn’t realize it was gone until a friend ICQ’d me your story of events. The magazine certainly was getting thinner the last few months.

      In any case, I hope Chaos Manor continues somewhere. I think I still prefer paper for a computer column (!!), but electronic format is okay if it comes to me. I’d pay for a regular e-mail of the column PLUS links to the website before I would pay for JUST the web site. If it comes to me it gets read. If I have to go to it, it gets forgotten.

      As to books—KEEP IT UP! MORE! FASTER! :-)

      I bought Starswarm a month ago and couldn’t put it down until it was done. Unfortunately, that didn’t take long. It was too short. So be sure and write more in the Starswarm universe. You’re definately on to something.

      Paul Filsinger

      Thanks. About half my readers hate the though of a push page; others seem to like it. I'll have to see if there's a way to set up a subscription list and automate the job. Darnell ought to know. We're still just setting things up.

      Stay well, Jerry

    • From: Edward A. Ipser, Jr. []

      Sent: Thursday, June 25, 1998 12:59 PM

      To: ''

      Subject: Governments Granting Freedom?

    • Dear Mr. Pournelle:

      In you write "The only real question is whether the politicians will grant the American people the necessary economic freedom."

      I would like to invite you to consider a different possibility, namely that the real question for America, and all peoples especially those of Asia, is whether they will seize economic freedom and the opportunities it presents in spite of their politicians. The significance of the new cybereconomy, believe it or not, may actually be underrated by prevailing opinion.

      For some insights on this alternative perspective, please see and

    • Your fan,

      Ed Ipser


    • My Intellectual Capital essay was about doomsters: I've been fighting them for 30 years.

      I haven't read although I am a bit familiar with one of the authors. In general I don't subscribe to the apocalyptic view of the world, and my guess is that it will take at least as long to dismantle the welfare state as it did to build it. When times are good, people like having government take care of what would normally be charity. The nanny state is quite popular until it begins to bite, and even then people don't storm Washington in order to get the government to let them disconnect their passenger side airbags. I could see some irate parent, whose child was killed by an airbag he was forced to buy and which he was forbidden to disconnect, rampaging with weapons in DC, and why not? The government ended his universe 'for his own good' or 'for his convenience' or for the general good, or mostly to employ some more bureaucrats who would be out of jobs if they didn't have the stupid law to enforce.

      But in general, the middle class isn't all that unhappy with the welfare state, and in a wealthy society isn't likely to want it dismantled. If we get poor quick the way the doomsters predict, then people will simply cease to pay for the welfare state, and the bureaucrats thrown out of work will add to the general depression; but for the moment we seem to have enough money to continue as we have, with a few adjustments here and there.

      The other essay on privacy is very interesting. Thanks for the comments.



      From: Cyrious Sybernetics []
      Sent: Wednesday, July 01, 1998 11:12 PM
      Subject: NEWCHAOS:WEBYES
      ... not to sound to ingratiating, but ... "ChaosManor" has always been the main reason that I subscribed to, or bought BYTE over the last 10 years of my life. I do so enjoy the books that you have written with Niven. I think I've read them all to date, but there are so many I'm not completely sure. However it is the solace that I find in knowing I'm not the only one to struggle with all that is new and computerish that prompts me to urge no end to ChaosManor.


      From: Mark Hollis []

      Sent: Thursday, July 02, 1998 12:18 AM



      Mikka J.C. Roessler

      P.S.: Maybe you can write a few extra columns and put them in your will to ease the final separation from ChaosManor that will inevitably come some time in the very very distant future

      Don't finish me off just yet! And maybe by then Alex will be able to continue the work... Thanks, and stay well, Jerry

      Subject: NEWCHAOS:WEBYES

      I was certainly "out of the loop" (to quote an ex-President) on the CMP purchase of Byte and its abrupt fold. I did receive my last issue of Byte with the tearsheet saying that CMP has purchased the magazine. I did not receive this month’s Byte (there is to be none).

      Jerry, when I first started a subscription to Byte Magazine, 16 years ago, half of the reason was your column. The other half was my need to stay somewhat current.

      The reasons multiplied over the years, so I believe my burning need for your column was cut down to around one third. Still, that is and remains significant.

      A world without Byte. Never imagined that.

      Whatever CMP does with the magazine, they cannot touch the excellent editorial and technology orientation of McGraw Hill’s monthly. Byte covered technology because it was important, not because some big advertiser said it was. And that lack of bias remains very important to this day.

      I remember you writing in your column about the Amiga fans telling you off because you had not written the word "Amiga" or "Commodore" in over two months. But you always wrote about what you were using and why it was important. When you quit using the Amiga, it told of the Amiga’s imminent demise—not because it was somehow something you were going to kill, but because of the amount of daily use you had time to devote to that platform.

      Presently, I was thinking about writing a similar comment on your frequency of Apple Macintosh mentions. The issue here was not that you didn’t like the Mac, somehow, but rather that it wasn’t primary due to the tools you felt you had to use on a daily basis.

      And that should warn those at Apple Computer.

      But then CMP bought the name Byte without realizing what a responsibility they had on their shoulders.

      A world without Byte. Perhaps Byte was somehow not "Year 2000 compliant."

      I wish you luck, Jerry. I’m sure you wish us all luck as well. It won’t be the same. Please tell the previous editorial staff for me (and everyone else) that they have really meant something, that they really communicated in a very pure and wonderful way.

      And I, like you, wish I could hire them as well.

      A world without Byte. Did we somehow go back in time?

      -Mark Hollis

      Thanks. It is a little hard to imagine. And it certainly won't be the same...


      From: Ian Clark []

      Sent: Thursday, July 02, 1998 3:34 AM

      To: Jerry Pournelle

      Subject: Living with computers

      Dear Jerry

      Chaos Manor was always about personal experiences. Here’s a personal experience that’s driven me mad. And, unfortunately, to a stupid mistake in the end.

      I received an email from Verisign saying I need to renew my certificate. I immediately did so - to receive a panel requesting a password to "Communicator DB". Tried my current and previous passwords to no avail.

      Emailed Verisign. They sent me to Netscape. Forwarded the correspondence to Netscape - they told me its was a Verisign problem. Forwarded that to Verisign - they told me it was a Netscape problem. This went on every 48 hours for three weeks. Finally, an instructive message from Verisign. I followed their instructions. To no avail, so I forwarded the messages to Netscape. No response. I emailed Verisign that I had followed their instructions, to no avail. Forwarded to Netscape - at last, some instructions - the same as those from Verisign four weeks before. Forwarded to both that I’VE DONE THAT, IT DOESN’T WORK.

      In desperation, I deleted my Communicator directory. STUPID. I forgot this was a new PC, and being end of year, I’ve been too busy for my employer to run a full backup at home.. and unfortunately I forgot that Netscape sticks everything inside itself. So, I just lost all my email and address book entries for an entire year.

      Moral: never attempt to upgrade and rationalise systems and information bases unless you’ve got time to complete the backup. Never overlooked at work. Ah well.

      After deleting the directory and all important information, and

      re-installing Netscape, low and behold Verisign’s site let me obtain a

      new Id.

      Then Murphy struck. Netscape’s site loops on "identify yourself". Using a 12 month old backup of Netscape, containing an expired verisign Id, I can sign on to Netscape. Using the current copy and my new Versign Id, I can interract with the rest of the world.

      Tonight, I finally got instructions from Netscape - to do what Verisign told me and which did not work some weeks ago.

      Result - Computer Science does not exist. Its all incantations and mirrors. I have given up trying to get Netscape’s site to acknowledge my new certificate - I just use my June 1997 incarnation to go there, and my July 1998 incarnation to go everywhere else.

      Microsoft is an alternative to Netscape. Is there an alternative to Verisign?

      The greatest loss is self inflicted, due to unreasoning but justified anger, and not keeping my backups up to date. But uncaring vendors generated that anger.

      Netscape and Verisign - a very large onion*

      Ian Clark

      Gladstone QLD Australia

      * ™ J Pournelle

      My sympathies. Of course I have always known that these machines are all in it together...


      From: Rob Levandowski []

      Sent: Thursday, July 02, 1998 10:46 AM


      Subject: Can't read "View" :(


      I’m on vacation for a week (on my way to Stoddard, NH, one town west of Peterborough!), which means I’m using my Mom’s computer. It’s a Mac Performa 575, which has a built-in 13" monitor at 640x480 resolution. I can’t read the View column without scrolling like a madman—the table column holding the body text won’t fit on-screen.

      (By the way, nice HTML comments. :)

      Can you either use a narrower table width, or use percentage widths instead of absolute widths? The resolution-challenged among us would appreciate it! :) It’d certainly make it easier for me to get my daily dose...

      Rob Levandowski

      This is the second or third time I have tried to post your letter and my reply. Front Page has lost the others. Perhaps my own stupidity. But one thing is certain. This cannot go on. I can stand writing but not in Front Page, which drags and is slow and in general is impossible; I can write faster with a pencil.

      I do not understand what it is that I am to do with this page, or view. I need to be told precisely, preferably with examples of what I have now and what I should have.

      If I give this enterprise up it will not be from the pressure of writing but of publishing. This is really and truly bad, skipping from Front Page to Write and back, restoring everything I did because either Word or Front Page insists on making changes to my code; writing I can stand but publishing is not what I want to do with my life. If I can write in WORD and put it up, I can do this; but I can't continue bit twiddling to get the page sizes right. Not your fault, of course, and thanks for the kind words; I understand and sympathize.  Now I'll find I already put this somewhere else. I am not a publisher.



      Saturday, July 04, 1998 Blooking Dawn

      From: Myers, Clark E []

      Sent: Thursday, July 02, 1998 11:03 AM

      To: ''

      Subject: FW: SBN Wire: Take the Internet Performance Test! [MS on Frontpage]


      > They mean Hide a Web Directory......

      > From: Site Builder Network[SMTP:sbn@MICROSOFT.COM]

      > Sent: Wednesday, July 01, 1998 16:25


      > Subject: SBN Wire: Take the Internet Performance Test!

      > In this issue:


      > * Make a Web Directory Unreadable Using MS FrontPage 98


      You SURE that's what they mean? Stay well, Jerry>

      From: Myers, Clark E []

      Sent: Thursday, July 02, 1998 11:14 AM

      To: ''

      Subject: Some links you may care to post for Windows 98 issues


      IBM see laptops especially

      Toshiba lap tops

      Dell generally

      and especially Dell laptops

      Stay well


      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

      Thanks. Given the last couple of days I have not had a chance to look at them, but thanks for the recommendations.

      From: Bill Ramsey []

      Sent: Friday, July 03, 1998 11:03 AM





      Interesting article about Linux. C|net’s had a radio (realaudio) special about Linux called "Project Heresy." It was about using Linux as your *only* operating system. Excellent! The link is under builder buzz at It was taped over a peroid of 5 or 6 weeks and each installment is about 20 minutes.

      Bill Ramsey


      I've actually got a lot more about Linux coming up. After my miserable experiences with NT today, I'm ready for an operating system that may take work to learn, but WORKS and doesn't do mysterious and bizarre things. Of course that sentiment will likely change; I do mostly want to use these machines. But I'm likely to set up a Linux system even so. Stay well, Jerry

      From: ecf []

      Sent: Thursday, July 02, 1998 1:19 PM


      Subject: broken link?


      Greetings Jerry!

      A week or so back, Talin had recommended a website that could handle any payment via a secure link. Unfortunately, the link to this info appears to be broken on your site.

      I am in the process of establishing a commercial site myself and would

      really appreciate it. I know, I know, that’s what I get for not writing it

      down the first time. <grin>

      BTW - FrontPage98 SUXS! That is just to corraborate your findings. I was forced to play with it starting with the BETA because it is "the standard." I haven’t tried the other WISYWIG HTML editors yet. You will probably laugh, but my personal web development suite consists of:


      PaintShopPro 5.0


      Internet Explorer 4.0


      I keep these four loaded at all times and just Alt-Tab/Cut-n-Paste between them. Hey! It works for me.

      Thank you very much for all the Byte articles and the new website.

      Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

      Stan Field



      "Incrementalism is innovation’s worst enemy."


      Nicholas Negroponte


      Say "Hi!" to Stan, the Eclectic Cleric at:

      • or - Join us for some medieval fun at:


      • or -

      Travel into the future with Pioneer Rocketplane

      • or -

      Become part of the future with the Millennial Project


      A couple of points. If Talin's thing is still there, I'd have to search for it just like you, and if it's not, then it's gone. Sorry. Second, PLEASE do not decorate letters. There are lines and dots and stuff in there that I can't edit out without a lot of work, it's driving my editor nuts, and it's driving me into worse depression than I have from the rest of the day. All of you, please, please, keep mail simple. In fact, in future, the best way to be sure that I won't reply to mail is to decorate it with funny lines, odd detentions, illustrations, and the rest. I am truly sorry, but I just don't have time to deal with that.

      Thanks for the site pointers. If I could figure out how to get rid of the double lines and things, some of which seem to stretch across the whole page and wrap, I would do it, because I just know that will blow up someone's browser.

      From: Mooncat []

      Sent: Friday, July 03, 1998 1:40 PM




      Dear Mr. Pournelle,

      On the subject of web page format, I can live with most of the pages on your site. I liked the table-less version a lot more, but only because I’m running at 640x480 resolution. However, the text area on the Win98 page is about 60 pixels wider than my screen, making it unreadable. The problem seems to be the line5.gif image within the pair of blockquote tags surrounding "ERIC’S EXPERIENCES".

      I bought STARSWARM and enjoyed it immensely; I’d like to read more about the aliens. I’m looking forward to the new Janissaries book—

      JANISSARIES was the book that made me a Pournelle fan.

      I’m also looking forward to hearing more about Linux. I can’t install it on the machine I use since I share it with people who need to use Microsoft Office and the WINE Windows NT emulator isn’t up to that yet, but I’ve had enough problems with Windows and heard enough good things about Linux that any machine that I do have that sort of control over will run it.

      Best wishes,

      Grady Lemoine

      The Win98 discussion page is officially accursed. I hate it. I have wasted a day trying to fix it, and I don't seem to be able to, not even making a new page and pasting from the old one. I would have to start over, retyping, I think. I am not clever enough with HTML to figure out what is wrong with it, and none of the HTML editors I have tried are smart enough to do it either. Alas. I don't like this one much either. The content is great but making the layouts work is horrible, I am up to 5 Am and it will still look bad and someone will be unhappy. Oh well.

      And I really will get to Linux soon. Thanks, and stay well, Jerry




      From: John Biel []

      Sent: Friday, July 03, 1998 11:51 AM


      Subject: Win98 Installs- an update




      It turns out I had a bad power supply, I should have known given the symptoms (and here’s the inevitable) BUT... I had replaced it with a new one bout 2 months ago. I have the system running on a UPS so I figured it couldn’t be the power supply. Also if you have the ATI 3d Rage Pro AGP and/or it’s variants Xpert@play, Xpert@Work and All in Wonder Pro, the driver you need is NOT the one windows 98 wants to load. You have to specify the "drivers\ati" directory on the cdrom rather than choosing one of the display drivers from the list windows gives you.

      Once you do that "Bob’s your uncle".

      Note: checked while I was writing this and Ati has released it’s own updated drivers for this card and win98. The DVD also worked fine as soon as I put it back in so that problem must have been related to the power supply. Dual display, DVD and all work just fine!

      John Biel



      From: Eric Pobirs []

      Sent: Friday, July 03, 1998 3:03 PM

      To: Jerry Pournelle

      Subject: Re: Win98 Installs- an update




      Win98 tends to recognize all current ATI cards as Mach64. This is good in that you’re immediately given a system with decent resolution and color depth but bad in that most extended features don’t work. Going into the Display control panel’s advanced settings and asking to see all compatible drivers will locate the correct All-In-Wonder Pro driver and make it selectable with directory digging. I can only assume ATI chose to design their cards with a common core at the level Plug n Play happens for lower production costs but it is a weaselly maneuver at the expense of the customer’s patience. All that separates the Xpert@ series from the AIW Pro is the TV tuner stuff and a handful of related items. These can be added with a daughter card.

      At first the AIW Pro will have a bunch of missing devices or those devices will have exclamation marks in Device Manager. PnP sees them but doesn’t know how to proceed since the video board they claim to hang off of isn’t in the system. After you’ve told Win98 the True Name of the card you can use the WebTV for Windows stuff. This isn’t putting a Web browser limited to NTSC res on your screen but rather a place to use the AIW Pro’s TV tuner with a nice channel guide. They gave it the WebTV look since it’s driven by the same channel guide service used by WebTV Plus. The AIW Pro’s own software is much more powerful but doesn’t do all the stuff Microsoft’s does. (This is really Brooktree’s reference software at the core. This becomes obvious after testing a few TV tuner boards and noticing how much the displays look alike.) I suppose this is good practice for encouraging third party development. Microsoft includes just enough to make it inexpensive to add a function to the PC but the third parties make it sing.

      So far all but one item works very well. The exception is the WaveTop VBI service. This is a datacast service like Pointcast that use the Vertical Blanking Interval in NTSC broadcasts to embed data. The Intel Intellicast service is driven by the same hardware and that works but I’ve never gotten a peep from WaveTop. I can’t even get it to synchronize anymore. It used to at least get past that point. Consulting with both the ATI and WaveTop folks has been fruitless. Has anyone out there ever seen WaveTop work?

      From: Murray Dundas []

      Sent: Friday, July 03, 1998 3:23 PM

      To: Jerry Pournelle

      Subject: Your web site



      I’ve been following your web site with interest and I have a couple of ideas to throw out at you.

      As you alluded to, perhaps it’s easier for you to do a monthly column than suffer the chaos (pardon the pun) of keeping a web site updated daily or weekly. And maybe it’s better for your readers. As you say, you could "...with a burst of speed catch up and corporate all the other inputs into a column, trim it for excessive words, and look like a genius." Well, we already think you’re a genius, but that’s another matter. : )

      For more current information, perhaps you could add a discussion forum to your site, moderated or unmoderated. It could take the place of your current mail section. You would not have to bother choosing which message to post on your site; all of them would be posted. You could then respond to those messages you wished to and join discussions as you wished, rather than feeling forced become an editor and publisher, as you are now. There are software packages that allow creation of such newsgroups within a web site. Perhaps even a link to a Pournelle newsgroup would be sufficient.

      With a monthly column and a newsgroup through your web site, we’d have the best of both worlds: the concise monthly Chaos Manor column and daily interaction with you (when you chose) and your readership. You would have time to collect your thoughts and repreive from the burden of running a complex web site.


      Keep up the good work.

      Murray Dundas


      Those are all possibilities, but I think you underestimate the dangers of unmoderated sites. They are spam magnets, and worse, there will always be someone claiming to be a libertarian 'testing our tolerance' or some such. I have a lot of libertarian friends, most of them sane, but there is a small number who think that any attempt at good manners is an encroachment on their freedom. Also there is the distinct possibility of deliberate sabotage. But I am going to have to retreat from this daily grind. I am not getting as much fiction done as I should, and I'm not getting paid for any of this. Well, A little. Maybe five hundred bucks has floated in. Enough to cover some of the expenses, anyway. I've been ill this week so this site hasn't got my best work but then nothing else would have either. Thanks for the suggestions, I'm passing them along to the gang. One way or another things WILL change. Not sure how.

      Stay well,


      And that should do it for the day.



      SUNDAY, July 5,1998


      From: Tim of Angle []

      Sent: Sunday, July 05, 1998 2:05 PM


      Subject: From Outlook to Address List


      I know of no way to automate pulling multiple people from messages into the address book. I have had some success doing it one at a time in the following manner:

      From the In Box, click on the "INBOX" caption on the upper left. That ought to drop down a list of your "folders" in Outlook. Click the pushpin to keep it open.

      Go into the folder where you’ve saved the messages whose authors you want to add to your address book. Drag one over and drop it onto your "Contacts" folder. This ought to make an address book entry out of it, with the message text inserted into the "Notes" area. You might want to go back over them later to fix any anomalies that the (limited) AI capabilities of Outlook may have created with the entries, but for now just click on "Save and Close".

      Once they’re in the "Contacts" area, they’re automatically in your Address Book. Just go into the Address Book, choose the "New Group" button, move over anybody you care to, and you ought to be set.

      I realize that doing them one at a time is not as convenient as in a group, but it ought not to take more than a second or two to drag/drop/save.

      It MAY be possible to drag a whole bunch over at once; I’ve never tried that, but I suspect that it would be too handy to actually work that way—but you might give it a shot.

      (There is an import—and export—facility in Outlook, but it looks for some odd format called "vCard" that I’ve never seen anywhere else. I suspect that it’s unique to Outlook. And I further suspect that there’s no way to "export" a bunch of messages to the vCard format and then import them into the Address Book, but I don’t know that for sure.)

      Good luck. I look forward to your report of the resolution of this particular programmatic perversity. (Half the fun of reading your site is profiting from your experiences, both positive and negative....)

      Thanks. I had to eliminate your Andrew Jackson quote and siogniture box because you set it off with some kind of solid line longer than my window. Word does that automatically when you stick in dashes and equal signs in enough numbers, and THEN WILL NOT GET RID OF THEM easily. It takes time I don't have so the easiest way to do it is to mark the whole damn block they are in and delete that. I would really really appreciate it if people would NOT insert long lines into letters!

      So far nothing I have been able to do will let me make a mail list from a bunch of mail in an outlook folder. I am beginning to believe it cannot be done. So it goes.

      From: Keith Irwin []

      Sent: Sunday, July 05, 1998 3:25 PM

      To: Jerry Pournelle

      Subject: Outlook Mass Address Additions...




      Jerry, have you tried selecting a message you want to add, then dragging it to the "contacts" item in the Folder list? When you do this, it asks if you want to add contact with attached text, or "as text," or "as shortcut." I just tried it: I don’t think it works with a whole series of messages (for it makes one contact including all the text, but doesn’t enter the address data).

      I suggest you sort your outlook mail folder by name, then drag one message per person over.

      Once that’s done, go to the "Category" view of the Contacts window, and then just drag and drop contacts into the categories you’ve established.

      The only other way I can think to do it is by filter, "the rules wizard," which might take longer to write than the job of dragging.... The problem with Outlook’s rules wizard is that it won’t work on messages already in your database. A BIG PROBLEM, though there are some 3rd party add-ons that help with this, I hear.

      Good luck! Looking forward to seeing the strategy other users put forth.

      Keith Irwin

      University of North Texas

      Alas with over a thousand names and the list growing, I CANNOT do that. At ten seconds a shot that is 10,000 seconds = nearly 3 hours of steady repetitive work and I am doggoned if I will do that. If I can find where those mail addresses are stored, and what the delineation characters are, I can write a Delphi or simple old compiled BASIC program that will make me a mailing list. This is absurd; whoever Microsoft has designing this stuff surely does not USE it. I would like to find and beat senseless the people who dream up one-way traps like this.

      If I could import it all over to Netscape it would be a little easier. Not much. This is insanity.

      From: Robert Bruce Thompson []

      Sent: Sunday, July 05, 1998 4:55 PM

      To: 'Jerry Pournelle'

      Subject: Outlook data location


      >> And DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE Outlook keeps its mail files?


      Do a find for *.pst (as in "personal store".) I long ago moved my mailbox to a data directory, but I believe Outlook puts it either in the \winnt folder or your profile folder by default.


      Robert Bruce Thompson


      Thanks. At last I have a chance to FIND that data. Thanks for the quick reply.





      From: Kevin Workman []

      Sent: Monday, June 22, 1998 9:31 AM




      I’ve noticed something pretty annoying with Outlook 97 that I hope you haven't, or if you have can make it go away. I am a student again and have reached the point in school where I am going to need some kind of PIM to keep track of whats going on. I have played with Outlook some but not enough, waiting for the time. Anyway, I have started to migrate addresses into its address book. After opening Outlook and looking around for awhile it asks if it can index my drives for me for some reason. I never get too far past the "index my drives" part before telling it no. The problem is, my A: drive starts getting accessed a lot when Outlook is opened. I transfer a lot reading notes from floppy to my machine and heard that keeping references to files from the floppy in My Documents could cause this to happen so I make sure there are none of those. It wouldn’t be that much of a problem if my A: drive wasn’t so loud... :)

      Kevin Workman


      It may be Computer Science but it ain’t Rocket Science

      Jesus is coming, everybody look busy

      I don't know about that one. I haven't got to the point of needing indexing. Right now I just want to make a mailing list. I could do that in MCI MAIL six years ago! But not with Outlook. Or if I can, Outlook don't want to tell me how. Why do they put out products without making the people who design them actually USE them?

      YOU CAN FIND the AIM  discussion on another page, which contains elements too wide to scroll. I don't know which ones. I hate all web tools.