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This week:




Mail 60: August 2 - 8, 1999



The current page will always have the name currentmail.html and may be bookmarked. For previous weeks, go to the MAIL HOME PAGE.


Fair warning: some of those previous weeks can take a minute plus to download. After Mail 10, though, they're tamed down a bit.

IF YOU SEND MAIL it may be published; if you want it private SAY SO AT THE TOP of the mail. I try to respect confidences, but there is only me, and this is Chaos Manor. If you want a mail address other than the one from which you sent the mail to appear, PUT THAT AT THE END OF THE LETTER as a signature.

PLEASE DO NOT USE DEEP INDENTATION INCLUDING LAYERS OF BLOCK QUOTES IN MAIL. TABS in mail will also do deep indentations. Use with care or not at all.

I try to answer mail, but mostly I can't get to all of it. I read it all, although not always the instant it comes in. I do have books to write too...  I am reminded of H. P. Lovecraft who slowly starved to death while answering fan mail. 

If you want to send mail that will be published, you don't have to use the formatting instructions you will find when you click here but it will make my life simpler, and your chances of being published better..

This week:
Monday -- Tuesday -- Wednesday -- Thursday -- Friday -- Saturday -- Sunday

Current Mail



Monday August 2, 1999

Paul Vixie is an Internet demi-god who lives out in California somewhere.  Aside from having written the reference implementation of BIND, the software that is run on better than 80% of the DNS nameservers on the planet, he runs an organization called the “Mail Abuse Prevention Service”, a limited-liability company whose purpose is to make life easier for network operators (ISP’s, etc) who don’t want to receive traffic from other networks which are flagrant spam-havens.

This service, the Realtime Blackhole List, operates at the network router level, making the sending network completely invisible to those people who _subscribe_ to the service—no traffic whatever coming from those spammer networks is ever seen; it goes into a black hole.

I quote from

> The MAPS RBL is a system for creating intentional network outages for

> the purpose of limiting the transport of known-to-be-unwanted mass

> e-mail.  The MAPS RBL is a subscription system, such that no one is

> ever denied connectivity to a non-RBL-subscriber. If your network seems

> to have been “blackholed” by us, be aware that the places you cannot

> reach have deliberately chosen not to exchange traffic with you. We are

> not the network’s police force, but rather, a method to identify likely

> spam origin.


The issue here is that Network Solutions, regardless of what it’s spokesman Chris Clough seems to think, is a government contractor, and it is on those terms that they have custody of the information concerning their “customers”... they use this excuse to send mail to these contacts promoting their commercial services—things that they do as a commercial entity, not as a government contractor.

In short, they—as a commercial entity—have kidnapped that list from themselves—as a government contractor—and are using it as a marketing tool.

Since they’re the only people you can go to for that service, and the service is not an option, people are rightly incensed at the treatment they’re receiving from NSI.  The Commerce Department is not happy with them either; references on request.

And the competition stuff you’re hearing about?

Those people will be competing with NSI as a _registrar_ (the people who take applications and money)... to send traffic to NSI as the _registry_ (the people who run the database and TLD nameservers).

The former job can be split... the latter cannot.

Now, the pragmatic aspect of this is that if you blackhole NSI... no one can get to whois, or the primary root and com/org/net nameservers.

Needless to say, this would not be good...


·        jra


Jay R. Ashworth                                      

Member of the Technical Staff     Buy copies of The New Hackers Dictionary.

The Suncoast Freenet            Give them to all your friends.

Tampa Bay, Florida    

A fairly clear estimate of the situation. Thanks. 

I get enough Spam that I want something done about it; I get weary of eliminating 30 to 50 unwanted solicitations, often multiple copies of the same inane offer sent from slightly different return addresses or no return address at all. What can be done and what I'm willing to give up in order to eliminate this onerous task I am not sure. I do know that those who cause this problem deserve little consideration, and if there were a way to annoy them as much as they collectively annoy everyone else, most of us would take it. Hmm. 

Think on this: if you waste 5 seconds time for 5 million people, this is nearly 20 years; do you deserve 20 years imprisonment? Surely not; but if you do that 50 times?

Dr. Pournelle:

Weeks tells us he collects 800, 877 and 888 toll-free numbers from Spam and then sets up a 28.8 modem to dial these automatically for hours so the spammer incurs big phone charges.

Well now.

When I was in Oklahoma City some years ago there was a man in the news who did not like Oral Roberts [TV evangelist with a huge following in Oklahoma] and so set his PC and modem to repetitively dial the 800 number for funding pledges that Oral Roberts runs across the bottom of the TV screen during his show.

After 3 months, and I am surprised it took that long, he was arrested by the FBI on interstate tampering with the phone system, denial of service of a common carrier, and whole bunch of other very serious Federal communication charges.

He was convicted or course, since he forgot the 800 number trapped his home number the modem was calling from and the trace was trivial, he did time in the Federal pen and paid a very big fine. I think the modem was still dialing merrily when the FBI showed up at his house with the warrant...

Based on the Federal conviction, Oral Roberts' church sued him for the estimated loss of revenue for the 3 months the lawyers calculated his modem was seizing the 800 number and preventing one of the faithful from getting through and pledging money, and it was a big amount although I no longer remember how much. But since he had no job, house, car, bank account or wife anymore, i doubt they collected much...

So while it might be satisfying to charge a spammer a lot on his phone bill, is it worth a Federal felony on your rap sheet? Although I hear the food is better than in state prison...


So clearly the law is not on your side when you try to deal with the spammers yourself. Should it be?

I ask this seriously. For a long time the old ARPA Net policed itself. Not always wisely or well, but in general the community standards worked, and most actions were taken by a fairly large consensus. It was self government with all the advantages and flaws inherent in self government.

The alternative to self government is "professionalism" as for instance asking the Bureau of Alcohol, Tax, and Firearms to protect you from the Oklahoma City Bomber, but also from the Branch Davidians. Another word for "professional" in government is "bureaucrat." Sometimes you want bureaucrats: my favorite example is Los Angeles County Animal Regulation. I very much want all dogs in the county to be vaccinated against rabies. You must get a certificate of vaccination in order to get a license for your dog. It is in the interest of nearly all of us that you don't have an unlicensed dog. This requires snoops who go about finding people with unlicensed dogs. The kind of person who wants this job is not always or even usually the kind of person I want to know, yet it is in my interest that there be bureaucrats who like that sort of work. The question becomes, just how much bureaucracy do I want in my life? Or you in yours? And alas, I am not sure we have any answer to that when it comes to regulation of the Net. 

I suppose I would rather err on the part of too much reliance on self government rather than too little. The harm done to me by spam is small compared to the potential harm from an overzealous bureaucracy. (For that matter, my view of the desirability of having bureaucratic snoops searching for unlicensed dogs is probably colored by my memories of just how terrible the Pasteur treatment for rabies was when I was a child; I understand that the new preventive for rabies after a bite by a rabid animal doesn't entail all the horrors of the classic Pasteur series.)

Once you "professionalize"; once you establish a bureaucracy; it is exceedingly unlikely that you will ever get rid of it. I recall about 40 years ago, when farm employment was much larger than it is now, there was an effort to get a fundamental law stating there could never be more employees of the Department of Agriculture than there were farmers and farm workers in the US. The government employees unions were horrified, and the law failed. I don't know what the ratio between DofA employees and farm workers is today, but I do know there is no such law. I also know that the Rural Electrification Administration continues to go strong, and there continues in New England to be a government owned factory making hemp hawsers for Navy warships; it was established in the Civil War after North Carolina, where those hawsers were formerly made, went to the Confederacy. I suspect that few of our warships need hemp anchor hawsers today, or that if they are needed, that private industry is incapable of supplying them.

All of which adds up to "Tread lightly..."

Dear Jerry, I've just read your article"Nescape blows up.."   I'm a Tech Support Agent as well as Abuse Manager at a Southern California ISP. One of the things I make sure to tell my customers (when I walk them through upgrading Communicator) is to be sure and "click" on the link that says "Download without using Smartupdate."  You then get a regular "Save As..." window and can download it in the directory of your own choosing.   Now..I don't know if would have solved your problem, but I didn't see it anywhere in your article. If it would have solved your problem then you should have told your readers that, instead of leaving them hanging.   P.S. I completely agree with you on the Star Wars review, I was completely diappointed.     John sale PacificNet Technical Support 3rd Tier PacificNet Abuse Department ExcelOnline Technical Support 3rd Tier ExcelOnline Abuse Department  

The problem is FINDING that link that says download without using the smart download feature. It wasn't obvious to me, at least. But thanks.

Jerry, you mentioned that someone said “Feathersnake” would repel female readers. I was intrigued by this statement, and did a brief poll among the women of a list I susbcribe to.

The unanimous opinion was that there was nothing repelent on that title. Many of them identified that as being an “ancient” central-american God. A few provided the original name, and a few declined to try to spell it. After seeing it, I can understand the reluctance to spell it. A few expressed outrage at the statement, a number said whoever said that was a complete idiot. Some said they would buy a book by that name, being Aztec (Aztec?) related or because of the word “snake” on the title being the reasons provided.  One expressed disbelief that someone who reads fantasy could possibly be repelled by that title. One said she didn’t know anyone who would.

Now, granted, this is a science-fiction list, which, according to some, would make “female subscriber” an oxymoron (alas, there are more women than men on that list—either that, or they are WAY more active).

So, I’m wondering... does whoever said that knows what he is talking about? I’m seriously intrigued.

 Daniel C. Sobral                                    (8-DCS)


·        Jordan, God, what’s the difference?

·        God doesn’t belong to the -core.

Well, the original concern was by my literary agent who is one of the most successful science fiction and fantasy agents in the country; I hadn't thought about it until she brought it up. Then I asked Roberta, who's about the brightest woman I know, and she pointed out that serpents and women have been enemies since Genesis, and whether you take that story as real or symbolic it's a symbol taught to most girls from an early age.

I hadn't associated "feathersnake" with snakes and serpents either, but of course that's merely familiarity on my part. I think snakes in the title may well turn women readers away, not consciously, but when you're about to shell out $27.50 for my hard bound book I for one don't want any unconscious hampers either. Burning City is a big heroic fantasy; we like to think it is more than that, and of course it is "fantasy with rivets", which is to say we try very hard to make a set of rules and stay within them; meaning, we hope, that we will get some of the (largely male) science fiction readership as well as the (overwhelmingly female) big fantasy hardbound book readership.

Symbols work at levels below intellect, and when thought about the influence often vanishes; but that is not to say there wasn't an influence to begin with.







Tuesday, August 3, 1999 Happy Birthday, Alex!

Dear Jerry:     Thanks for the pics of the Corpse Flower; it looks splendid, but also like something that WOULD smell particularly bad.  Did you get a whiff on your visits?   Anyway, regarding the fellow who wrote to complain about your naming computers, your answer was far more reasoned and gentle than mine would have been.  Regardless, I do have a suggestion about increasing the usefulness of naming machines (I for one would certainly rather read "Amigo" than "my AMD K7 128MB RAM TNT2 video Soundblaster-compatible 21 gigabyte hard disk... etc. etc. machine").  Which is: is there a way to link the names to a list of specs?  I get lost sometimes when you're talking about a problem on a specific machine, and it would be great to be able to point and click to the actual hardware specs for the named box in question.   Just a thought, loving all the pics, keep it up,   Tim

The pictures referred to were sent to subscribers, and will be available here in a day or so. I suppose I ought to put together a glossary of computer names used here. They're reasonably mnemonic to me, but I can see they might be confusing to anyone not a regular denizen of Chaos Manor.

On for Saturday July 31, 1999, you have links which are broken - apparently because the server at has moved or removed them.

22 July 1999: Nato admits air campaign failed

25 July 1999: RAF admits failings in Kosovo inquiry

Many thanks for a consistently high-quality product over the decades.

John Bartley, PC Sys Admin []

Thanks for the kind words. I can't do anything about external links: when someone changes the source location, it's pretty early impossible for me to go looking for each one to fix. I expect if you need those articles you will be able to dig them out of the London Daily Telegraph site... Thanks again.

Subject:      How much government?


Hanging out as I do with Libertarians (currently very hard to avoid, since I’m a regional vice chair), I often encounter that element known as agorist / anarchist wing.  These are the people who would turn all the functions of government over to the Greek marketplace (=agora).  Government, they assert, is completely unnecessary and can be disbanded; all its functions can be taken up by the marketplace.

Unfortunately, what these people have neglected to consider (in my own arrogant opinion) is that the government is itself the result of centuries of a sort of marketplace interaction.  When a government becomes too oppressive, the peasants revolt.  (Well, sometimes the barons revolt.)  When the government becomes too weak, other entities move in to fill the power vacuum.  The system of government that exists in this country is the result of thousands of years of this sort of adjustment.

The system certainly isn’t perfect.  Although I align more with the constitutionalists (go back to the letter of the Constitution and repeal everything that has allowed government to step beyond its limits), I keep in the back of my mind the possibility that maybe the marketplace has changed, and the balance of power codified in the U.S. Constitution is no longer tracking the market equilibrium. 

This is an idea that I usually examine on the fifth Wednesday of the month.

.........Karl Lembke



In the unlikely event that you haven’t considered this technique before:

sort all incoming mail that doesn’t have your email address in its TO: field into a spam mailbox.

Someone pointed out to me some months back that, unlike normal email, almost no spam actually names the recipient in the TO: field; this turns out to be true with >99% of the spam sent to me (sometimes, there is no TO: field, but mostly it’s just a dummy address).  After spending thirty minutes or so analyzing my incoming email and setting up sorting rules, all my spam now goes in the spam mailbox.  I periodically review the to/from/subject lines there to make sure that the occasional nonspam email hasn’t slipped by my rules, but would guess that after a few weeks of this, the rules are mature enough that they are sufficient to deal with everything.  There is presumably some technical reason for the absence of the destination email address in the TO: field of spam, but I don’t know much about SMTP, and zero about spam-email-servers.

Hope this helps,

Armand MacMurray

I can do that easily enough (and in fact already do) but I still have to go through all the mail that is not explicitly to me. Much of it is to lists and such like, so my name isn't on it, but the press lists are important, so there's nothing for it but to chop through. Most is easily deleted. Still, two or three times a day I would like to find and beat senseless some of these people: why would they be stupid enough to believe that ANYONE would send them money or even respond to the imbecile offers? Sigh.






Wednesday August 4, 1999

Hello Jerry,

Concerning snakes and serpents (feathered and otherwise) and women—Vonda N. McIntyre wrote a story called “Dreamsnake”. (Both short story and novel -- you’re probably familiar with it.) I guess her agent hadn’t heard the theory about snakes and women. It’s a damned good yarn; sold well too I think.

Clyde Wisham

Noli Permittere Illegitimi Carborundum

Decent story. Originally a novelette, expanded to book length. As to sales, Amazon reports it as "not available." Vonda has done very well with Star Trek novels, which is odd because in her other persona she is a serious and scholarly writer. Usually serious novelists don't do well with the adventure genre, because they don't take it seriously. American academia in general doesn't regard "adventure" writers like Sir Walter Scott or Robert Louis Stevenson (or me, although I more aspire to be in their company than think I have achieved it) as "real authors", although it is arguable that they have had at least a much influence as many -- perhaps most --  of the "real" novelists.

Heroic fantasy makes most of its sales in massive (and thus expensive) hardcover books, and about 80% of hardcover fiction is bought by women. And as Roberta points out, the conflict between women and serpents goes back to Genesis... 

While I am on the subject, Starswarm, an adventure novel by Jerry Pournelle, is now out in paperback this month. You can read about it here, or you can get a copy direct from Amazon.  

Dr. Pournelle,

I was just re-reading about your Death Valley adventure, and it occurred to me that you ought to have an Eternalight flashlight . I just got one the other day, and it is amazing. It is a rectangular box about the size of a pager . They advertise it as having around a 700 hour (!) life on 3 AA batteries. It has 4 solid state light emitting diode lamps and a microprocessor control which will allow it to run in a timed auto shut off mode, dimmable mode, an adjustable flasher mode,  strobe mode, dazzle mode, and automatic visual SOS . And they say it is visible for 3 miles against city lights . The company is Technology Associates, Inc. .   Very Cool .


I’ve been reading you online since last summer, (much longer if you include the old Genie readers’ forum) , but I felt it time to say this : If the death of BYTE (paper) means I get to read you everyday instead of monthly, then R.I.P. . Your subscribers’ fee is worth every penny.

Thanks for everything and keep on writing.


Ron Booker

I will look into that. Thanks! And thanks for the kind words.


 You aren’t the only one with problems with NSI.  Check out this web-based cartoon:

 Charles Butler

I have always enjoyed those cartoons...


Just thought I’d mention the following - your Mail page still says “CLICK ON THE BLIMP TO SEND MAIL TO ME” even though you’ve replaced the blimp with a (non-animated) mailbox.

Also, just my $.02, but I always enjoy small animated gifs for things like ‘send me mail’ - they do catch one’s eye and some show real creativity.

Keep up the good work.


Alan Donders

I like my blimp too. I may go back to him. At least on some pages.  Anyone else got strong opinions?


> AOL recompresses your file images. That story is also in the column, but if some of my pictures look horrible when accessed through AOL, try looking at them through another ISP account.   FYI, you don't need to sign into another ISP.  You can fire up AOL, and then run IE or Netscape separately and they'll get to the net through AOL's TCP/IP interface.  I have a friend who surfs the net that way most of the time.   One trick, though.  AOL uses IE via OLE, so it keeps a cached copy of images.  Which means that any images you've seen under AOL will look bad under IE, too.  You have to manually go into Internet Options and delete temporary internet files.  Then you'll see the images correctly.   > Earthlink seems horrible the last few days. It drops me every few minutes.   I've been noticing similar behavior from TCI@Home here in Dallas the last couple of weeks.  I have no idea if it's related, IOW if big pieces of the net are having problems.   Drake Christensen  

Don't know either. I expect I am merely complaining...

I discovered this by accident. It must be a common typo. Try and you’ll wind up at Some people have too much time on their hands.

Marc Wiener





I was away on holiday and missed your ‘Netscape Must Die’ column.  Needless to say, I am DYING to read it. But now has your new August 2 column ‘I Hate Small Computers’. And under Past Columns for the week of 07/26 they also show ‘I Hate Small Computers’. Has the deluge of vociferous mail from Netscape fans forced you and/or to hide this unforgivable indiscretion under the clever guise of a broken link? :)

Somehow I thought I should be able to figure this one out myself and went spelunking on Byte’s site. I noticed a certain logic to their file names and eventually found ‘Netscape Must Die!’. It’s at And, as an added bonus, I discovered I could read your installments for the next three weeks!!! Isn’t that swell? Keep up the good work!


German Rodriguez

See, I knew you'd find it. I confess they use a rather arcane scheme over there...





Thursday August 5, 1999

My poor blimp continues to generate mail:

Subject: Your throbbing blimp and the Corpse Flower

Perhaps you could animate the flag on the mailbox.  I found your throbbing blimp to be juvenilely phallic, really unsuitable for “the doyen of the computer (whatever)” and a bona fide Ph.D. scientist.  I think it sends a message you’d rather not.

A note on corpse flowers: a couple of years ago, while I was living in Germany, big news was the blooming of a giant stinking lily, some sort of Arum, in the Kew botanical gardens.  Tourists came all the way from Sumatra to see it; they’d never seen one in the land where it is native.

Cheers, Phil

M. Praeger

Gosh. Is the poor blimp THAT bad? 

According to the local papers, the Corpse Flower is indeed a member of the Lilly family (as is aspidistra) but it is not particularly rare in Summatra. Of course it is probably easier to get to Germany from a Summatra city than to the interior jungles of the island. And a lot more comfortable.

I make no doubt yours will not be the last word on my blimp.

In regard to mistyping and winding up at

I was in a hurry to find some Illinois state information so I type in, nope, try Surprise, surprise.


Subject: Spam spam spam spam, spam spam spam spam, spammity spam, spammity spam!

Tuesday, August 3, 1999: “....Still, two or three times a day I would like to find and beat senseless some of these people: why would they be stupid enough to believe that ANYONE would send them money or even respond to the imbecile offers? Sigh.”

Jerry, the spammers spam because an economically rewarding percentage of their victims do, in fact, send them money. Au pays des aveugles les borgnes sont rois. Those who encourage the spammers to keep spamming the rest of us are also targets deserving of your ire.

Chris Christopher


One thing you may want to try is, to sort all the mail that is To or CC to you, into a To: mailbox, this will leave you with a mailing list (that you presumably subscribed to) and spam.   You then sort all the mailing lists based on their To: and Cc: lines, or better yet if the mailing list puts in a special header, such as X-Resent-By:.  This should leave you with just the spam, which can be moved into it’s own mailbox that you check maybe once a day to see if anything slipped through, and then just do a select-all/delete.

 Most e-mail clients should be able to do this sorting, though you do have to keep the sorting rules up to date based on the mailing lists you are subscribed to.  Also, if your e-mail server is a unix box, you can get a program called procmail that can do this sorting easily enough so that you dont have to even download the mail ever.


 Shaya Potter

I know that in theory I can do that, but it's a fair amount of work. Perhaps one day I will; but in fact it's a great deal of work. Mostly I can tell at a glance which is Spam and just delete it, but it's still a quarter hour a day of decision time that I'd rather use for something else. If there were a way to make people pay a mill (.1 cent) for every email they send, that would cost me a few dollars a month, but it would be well worth the cost, since it would make spammers think twice about sending me five copies of the same imbecilic offer of a get rich scheme. A point made by the next letter:



 You recently wrote: “Still, two or three times a day I would like to find and beat senseless some of these people: why would they be stupid enough to believe that ANYONE would send them money or even respond to the imbecile offers? Sigh” With a few important exceptions, spam is the same as junk mail.  As you and Larry Niven have pointed out, no one likes junk mail either (Happy trash day).  So why is the hatred that you and I and many others feel for spam so much more passionate than the dislike of junk mail?  I think that the primary reason for this is spam is free.  A mass mailer has to pay for the envelopes, paper, bulk mail postage and other expenses.  They are forced by the market to evaluate the return based on that cost.  E-mail is free.  It costs the spammer nothing.  If only one person is stupid enough to order something, the return on investment is very high.  And like Bob Heinlein said “never underestimate the power of human stupidity”.  There is no disincentive to sending you spam and if there is any incentive, however small, the spammer would be stupid to not send out to the widest possible distribution.

 This issue of internet resources appearing to be “free” to the user is impacting on areas other than spam.  I have read reports that cable modem companies are experiencing bandwidth problems as their subscriber base increases.  The cable is a shared resource and as more subscribers begin uploading huge files, the cable chokes.  This is similar to the freeway problem where building more freeways often increases congestion rather than relieving it. I think there may not be a solution to spam in the short term, but longer term the internet is going to have to deal with how to control access to shared resources.  As long as the resources appear “free” to the user their will be incentive to use the system until it chokes.  Lets hope that a solution to this issue can be found before the call for government action becomes overwhelming. 

Mike Plaster


Happy Trash Day, for those few who have not read Lucifer's Hammer, a novel by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, was a practice employed by a survivalist Postman (long before Brin or Kevin Costner thought about survivalist letter carriers).

My suspicion is that if the ISP's got together to agree to charge each other a mill per mailing or something like that (with a computerized scheme to credit each other and bill the original mailer) the government would call that a conspiracy and come down hard with anti-trust. Government wants to control because private agreements don't result in more government jobs, and the purpose of government is to pay the ruling class -- government workers -- more money. In order to do that they have to expand the jobs they do or claim to do. 

Agreed, government suppression of spam is a cure worse than the disease. I think.

Dear Jerry,

Just a quick comment; when you moved to an Apache server, there was an alternative to renaming all your upper-case foldernames.  You could have set up symbolic links so that directory “VIEW” was an alias for directory “view”; thus the old names would still have worked (indefinitely).  I use this trick quite a lot, being responsible for a website whose name includes a word commonly spelt in two different ways.


ben last

head of technology

amaze ltd

 In theory I could, but it would take a level of expertise I don't have time to acquire. It was easier to use ALLAIRE Homesite, a wonderful little editor (thanks to all who suggested it) to fix things. It does that wonderfully well.  

Another charming note from Netscape. I should make it clear that the title NETSCAPE MUST DIE was the header supplied by the editors for the piece that I wrote, not something written by Mr. Osmont. The rest, though, was his:

Netscape Must Die!

Your article is pathetic.
Did it even come to your mind to question NT's reliability? Shouldn't such a strong OS be able to handle this problem?

Anyway, the point is that people at Netscape or Microsoft deserve respect for what they have accomplished and for what they brought to the world.

On the other hand, whiners like you must die.

Stephan Osmont
 Stephan Osmont []


One assumes they have passionate employees.

I have added his December 2000 complaint in Mail for that week.








Friday August 6, 1999



Just a quick observation on your site.  It looks like you put your observations for Friday that would usually go in currentview in currentmail instead. 

Also, as far as the blimp controversy is concerned...  After you first put up the blimp I don’t think I would have ever looked at it twice much less worried about it unless I wanted to send you an e-mail if it weren’t for everything mentioned about it.  It has reached the point where it is actually kind of amusing just to read the pro and con views.  But, my $.02 is that the blimp really doesn’t matter.  If you like it, then keep it.  If the blimp increases the download time significantly, then consider removing it.  Either way doesn’t effect the readability of your site to me.  I immediately scroll down to the current day anyway.  Talk @ you later.

Tim (Timothy Werth)

Fixed that; thanks. As you say, the blimp is probably irrelevant. But I like it...



One of my all-time favorite business reporters, Fortune’s Joe Nocera (his Microsoft trial coverage is unmatched by anyone), has written a short essay on the trials and travails of Iomega. It’s interesting both from an investor point of view as well as for those us interested in the march of new technology.

the link is;sc=0#doc

Aaron Pressman






Was devoured by locusts.,



Sunday August 8, 1999

Something of interest:

From:      Robert <>

Org:      Data Depot Inc

Date:          Fri, 06 Aug 1999 08:47:16 +1000

Subj:      [pcdiagnostics] Curing Windows Date Problem

Hello List Members:

For those of you running MS Windows 95, 98 &; NT, this is a fix for a small  date problem almost everyone should do.  From the Windows Screen:

1.   Click on “My Computer”.

2.   Click on “Control Panel”.

3.   Click on “Regional Settings” icon.

4.   Click on the “Date” tab at the top of the page.

5.   Where it says “Short Date Sample”, look and see if it shows a “two-digit “ year. Unless you’ve previously changed it, it DOES. That is the Microsoft default setting. This date RIGHT THERE is the date that feeds ALL applicat ion software and will NOT roll over into the year 2000. It will roll over to the year 00.

6.   Click on the button across from “Short Date Style” and select the option that shows mm/dd/yyyy or m/d/yyyy. Be sure your selection shows four y’s,  not two.

7.   Click on “Apply” at the bottom.

8.   Click on “OK” at the bottom.

 That’s all there is to it!


Robert Hurt

List Owner

I found that my W 98 machine did not have this problem, but my Windows 2000 system did. Note that you must look at the Regional tab; looking at DATE does NOT do it. 

ONLY Then I got this:

 >  -----Original Message-----

> From:         Brendel, Thomas 

> Sent:          Sunday, August 08, 1999 8:46 PM

> To: ‘’

> Subject:      Y2K Hoax


I pulled the text below from a page on the MS Web site.  It identifies the Y2K message in today’s View as a hoax.  Just thought you would appreciate  the heads-up.  Link to that page appears below.


 Tom Brendel

> Windows 95 and Windows 98 Year 2000 e-mail hoax


> There is a hoax email in circulation on the Internet concerning the Y2K

> compliance of Windows 95 and Windows 98. There are various versions of

> this mail which resemble the below:

> “Every copy of Windows will fail on January 1st unless you fix

> it now, to fix it...”

> Click on “My Computer”.

> Click on “Control Panel”.

> Click on “Regional Settings”.

> Click on the “Date” tab. Where it says, “Short Date Sample” look and see

> if it shows a “two Digit” year. Of course it does. That’s the default

> setting for Windows 95, 98 and NT. This date RIGHT HERE is the date that

> feeds application software and WILL NOT rollover in the year 2000. It will

> roll over to 00.

> Click on the button across from “Short Date Style” and select the option

> that shows mm/dd/yyyy. Be sure your selection has four Y’s showing, not

> two.

> Click “Apply” and then click on “OK” at the bottom. Easy enough to fix.

> However, every single installation of Windows worldwide is defaulted to

> fail Y2K rollover.

> “Thanks and have a great day”

> Facts about Windows 95, Windows 98 and Y2K...

> *     Microsoft Windows 95 and Windows 98 are compliant and customers do

> not have to perform the above steps to obtain compliance.

> *     Windows will store and calculate the date as 4 digits, independent

> of the date display selected by the customer.

> *     Dates are stored and processed by Windows in a 4 digit format

> regardless of the date display style selected in Regional settings.

> *     Customers can use the regional settings tab to adjust how the date

> is displayed (e.g. mm/dd/yy or mm/dd/yyyyy)


Two things about this.; First  I did find that Regional  Date setting was different from the day/date setting on one of my machines. That seemed odd, although it turns out not to be important. Second, Robert Hurt has been around a long time (since S-100 days) and knows a lot about system innards.If he got fooled by this, I don't feel so bad.

I seem to be good at biting on these things. I can only plead that it does little to no harm to pay attention to them, and the upside payoff can be high.

Ah well.




Chaos Manor home

Entire contents copyright 1999 by Jerry E. Pournelle. All rights reserved.
Comments and discussion welcome.

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