Through Sunday September 13, 1998

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BOOK Reviews


An irregular journal of things computerish.

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For the BYTE story, click here.

Previous Weeks of The View 1  2   3  4  5  6  7   8  9

10  11  12  13

A START at indexing the View Files

DragonCon Pictures from Atlanta

An Aquarium on your PC?   The Microsoft Files.

atom.gif (1053 bytes) A new rant by Peter Glaskowsky on NT Workstations

New page for Palm Pilot discussion.

If you missed David Em's report last week click here.

EFA Mother Board

If you want to PAY FOR THIS there are problems, but I keep the latest HERE. I'm trying. MY THANKS to all of you who sent money. I'm making up a the mailing list. There are enough that it's a chore, which is not something to complain about. Some of you went to a lot of trouble to send money from overseas. Thank you! There are also some new payment methods. I am preparing a special (electronic) mailing to all those who paid: there will be a couple of these. I am also toying with the notion of a subscriber section of the page. LET ME KNOW your thoughts

If you didn't and haven't, why not?  If this seems a lot about paying think of it as the Subscription Drive Nag. You'll see more.

This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. The regular COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 4,000 words, will appear monthly when I get orbanized. Real Soon Now.

I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying.

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Monday, 7 September, 1998

I'm back from Atlanta, having managed to fly both ways without ever being on any airplane I was scheduled to be on. I have a few pictures, mostly of friends at the guest of honor table: Harlan and Susan Ellison, Julie Schwartz, Larry Niven, and Ray Bradbury. I didn't get one of me, and worse, I didn't get one of Roberta who was dressed to the nines and looked great. DragonCon was a lot of fun, and while they are unlikely to want me as a guest of honor again for a while, when they get around to recycling my name I'll sure be glad to go.

I scored a neat dragon out of the deal too: maybe I'll get his picture up, but I haven't taken one yet, the column is due to Nikkei BYTE, and I'm way behind. I am behind on pictures anyway: I have the trip Dvorak and I made to a Nokia product announcement in Finland, and a huge pile of pictures taken in Israel. And tomorrow is the opening night gala of the LA opera: I'll get Mrs. Pournelle's picture there. She's sure to look her best for that…

Harlan was as pleasant as I have ever known him, and that's along time. I also learned that he was able to bully some money out of the studios for Ellie Bloch, Robert Bloch's widow. Robert wrote the original Psycho, but his agent didn't keep the character rights for him as should have been, and legally the studios don't owe his estate a dime for Psycho II; but Harlan, bless him, was able to embarrass them into paying a decent sum to Ellie. I wonder if he wants it known that sometimes he can be a very nice person?

I used the Palm Pilot extensively on the trip, and I find it's becoming indispensable. I am not as happy with the Palm Desktop, and I haven't yet integrated Pilot with Outlook; I am told that's possible. The other alternative is to give Franklin Ascend another try; when I was running it I had some problems, but Hotsynch with the Pilot wasn't one of them, and I bet they have ironed out the bugs I was finding; tomorrow I'll have to give them a call. Meanwhile, what PIM Software do you use with your Pilot?

My Palm III upgrade kit hasn't arrived. I thought it might come while I was in Atlanta. Maybe tomorrow. I am not sure I need it: the Palm Pilot Professional as it stands is nifty. I keep it in a belt pouch that was originally designed for a Day Timer notebook, and it's just about perfect there. I can keep the Pilot, some pens, a few cards, and a couple scraps of paper in there just in case; but I am finding that I don't really need the scraps of paper unless I want to give a note to someone else. I'm getting good with Grafitti, the Pilot handwriting language, and while walking the streets I was able to take notes for novels and stories. It all transfers to the Palm Desktop with ease and simplicity.

I have also decided Robert Bruce Thompson is absolutely right: I wouldn't want a keyboard for the Pilot even if it were free. If I want to type something into the Pilot I can use my laptop and Hotsynch; and I wouldn't carry the keyboard anywhere I wouldn't be carrying the laptop so what's the point? The glory of the Pilot is that it is ALWAYS with me. Heck, I may even get my appointments straight for the first time in my life.

I've got several disks of Pilot software, and this month I'll probably be testing it.

Now to finish the column. There is also a FLOOD of mail, much of which I have not had a chance to read; I'll catch up after I do the column and a couple of thousand words of my story.



Tuesday, September 8, 1998

The September column is off to BYTE Japan. I suppose that's really October, the September one being the one I got off to Japan on the 7th of August, and which is now featured by bugnet ( ). I’ll give bugnet a few more days of exclusivity on that one and post it here. The bugnet arrangement is non-exclusive. They pay, and they're doing some publicity which I hope will attract more people to this site, so I thought I'd give them a couple of weeks before I give it away here.

One thing: the column I just shipped off has a very negative review of Wendy Goldman Rohm's THE MICROSOFT FILE: The Secret Case Against Bill Gates. I am not all that pro-Microsoft, nor do I think of myself as a Microsoft defender; but I can't accept the case she has built here. It may be true, but there is no way to know it's true; while it is very clear that she thoroughly dislikes both Microsoft as a company and Bill Gates as a person, so she will certainly report anything negative she can find about either.

That's the problem: she gives all kinds of 'secrets' all right, but without any attribution, not even to anonymous sources. It's not that she doesn't name her sources, she doesn't even claim to have any. "Thousands of interviews" is no clue to sources.

This book purports to give intimate details of conversations between two people with no third party present. Which party did she talk to? If neither, how did the actual source get the information? How reliable is that source? Could the person reporting on a conversation not heard have a reason to make up stories? There's no attribution, so we will never know. We are even told what happened on Bill Gates's dates before he was married. How does Wendy Goldman Rohm know what Gates's dating style is? How does she know what he says to his dates?

There's even a hint that one of the girls dated Gates because she was afraid not to. She later was dating Microsoft's lawyer. Now precisely who is supposed to have told Rohm about this lady's inner thoughts and feelings? The story hints at Gates as sexual predator, but doesn't come out and say it. For that matter it's not clear what bearing Gates's mating rituals before his marriage have on Microsoft business practices to begin with.

Consequently, as journalism this book ranks right up there with the National Enquirer. The Enquirer does get some things right. They were right on during the Three Mile Island incident, the only national paper that was correct. They can do decent journalism; I know this first hand (never worked for them, but knew some of their editors; remind me to tell you about the Houston Mexican restaurant in a district so tough that the taxi drivers wouldn't come there, and here were Niven and me with our wives and the place was closing...)

But one doesn't normally believe the Enquirer even if they sometimes get things right. Same with this book: EVERY section opens with a dig against Gates, EVERY incident is interpreted as evidence of Gates's evil intentions, and NO facts are documented, no sources given. Since I know a couple of the girls who dated Bill Gates before he was married, and I know some amusing incidents that happened in that period (none particularly embarrassing to the parties concerned), and I have never learned the kind of detail Rohm puts in, I have me doubts about her accuracy. How could she find out?

She also gives pretty intimate details of the thinking of FTC Commissioners, Department of Justice lawyers, and most of Gates's enemies. I can imagine the sources for some of this, but I also note they are not directly quoted as saying these things to Rohm in an interview. Rohm knows what these people think? This is worthless as journalism.

I don't think she writes very well either, with a breathless style and sometimes Bulwer-Lytton purple prose.

And I was THERE when IBM torpedoed the IBM/Microsoft agreement.

Set the stage. Gates gathered every Wall Street Analyst and financial reporter he could persuade to come to Redmund, and every computer journalist. He called me personally, one of the last times he has ever done so. This was the grand opening of his new campus; and it was also the conference on the future of the PC.

The theme was "OS/2 : Charting the Course for the Future." I still have the briefing books for the conference. There were huge posters on the wall, all featuring OS/2, with Windows being a small patch off to one side of Presentation Manager. Incidentally, all those banners and charts and the lecture slides and the briefing books themselves were made using Power Point on a Mac and printed from a Mac. PC's didn't have the capability of running Power Point in those days. I thought that pretty amusing, that the future of the PC was to be shown on charts drawn on an Apple, but then I have that kind of sense of humor.

The conference opened, and the talk was all about OS/2 as the wave of the future. Bill Gates spoke. Then the IBM wallah got up on stage, said a word or two, looked at his watch, and announced he had to catch a plane back to Boca. Goodbye. And walked out.

It was about as dramatic an insult as I have ever seen, and in front of an audience of reporters and financial analysts. It was clearly a declaration of war by IBM; and it clearly startled Gates, since all his charts and banners and demonstrations were on how wonderful OS/2 would be.

As I said, I still have the briefing books in which OS/2 is the big deal for "Charting the Course for the Future" and Windows was a tiny part of Presentation Manager. After the IBM wallah walked out of the big press conference, THEN, but ONLY THEN, Gates began saying "if you want to get applications running on OS/2, it will be easier if you get them running under Windows first."

I was there for 2 days. I sat with Gates at lunch after the IBM guy walked out of the conference. I saw all this and here's this book that is supposed to give all the inner secrets -- and that's not in it. Not mentioned. Nor is the real reason you can find Gary Killdall's name in DOS 1.

Yet those are important parts of the story. She didn't get them. She does have the inner thoughts of people at Justice and the FTC (and shows a "get Microsoft" mentality in FTC that is going to be valuable to Microsoft's lawyers). She seems to know what two people said to each other even when there was no one to overhear the conversation. She reports as quotes things Gates said in conferences she can't have been in to people unlikely to have spoken to her. She reports things I don't see how ANYONE could know and I certainly would not believe without some notion of the quality and motivation of the source. The Enquirer does it that way too. Enough about Wendy Goldman Rohm and The Microsoft Files.


I have the damndest program: it sets up an aquarium on your PC, and with a big monitor the darned thing looks a lot like a real fish tank. Fish are lively and act about like that kind of fish do act: tetras school, angelfish pair off, etc. Of course it's about as exciting as watching paint dry, but then so is a real aquarium, and I kept one of those for 25 years until the earthquake dropped 4500 books on my study floor and tipped the fish tank on top of the pile. This is artificial life with a twist. You have to feed the fish and think about changing water and so forth. I found it a lot more interesting than I thought I would.

Aquazone from Mindscape, and the darndest thing I have seen in some time.

Afternoon: I am off to the opening of Carmen at LA Opera in a few minutes. I have started a new page for Palm Pilot discussions.



Wednesday, August 8, 1998

I expect I am losing my mind. Just now I got mail that said, in part:


A note to notebook users: Win98 has problems with power management, so be careful, frequent crashes and blue screens are the direct result. Toshiba curently has a fix, and there are probably others. I think it spils over to the ATX desktop, since my company has been having trouble with them also. Some people wonder why corporations wait for release 2...

George Laiacona,

For which much thanks for the tip. The problem is that I know I recently had some words about Windows 98 and plans for using it here. It was part of a discussion of future machines to build, and when we'd get Linux up. I had concluded that you don't really need Windows 98 because there's little there that's not in OSR2. So WHERE did I PUT that?

I can't find that discussion. Meanwhile, this site has got so disorganized it's a wonder I can find ANYTHING. It's going to have to be indexed, and I need to find tools to do that with. I'll try to do something about the organization, but I sure wish I could find that discussion of Windows 98. I also discovered an early and badly set up page called Windows 98 discussion that isn't a bad beginning, but which needs lots of update, but it's so badly laid out I don't want simply to paste stuff onto it. This is going to take work.

Carmen was very good, and I have cast pictures which I'll get up Real Soon Now. Tonight is the opening of Werther. I've never seen it and know little about it so we will be going early to catch the Opera League's lecture; meaning I may or may not get this update done. Now, where is that darned OS discussion?


Got this in mail. Have put it into the Y2K discussion.

This is from the;

Newsletter on Information Technology and Telecommunications Standardization

Volume 6, Number 8, August 1997

Which is at;


"Legal Impact May Be Enormous

Another prediction made at the March 1997 hearing related to the legal impact. It was felt that the risk of failure and its liability consequences of punitive and compensatory damages would sprout a large Year 2000 cottage industry for lawyers waiting to file suits. Furthermore, the potential legal damages awarded could ultimately exceed the total cost for actually fixing the Year 2000 problem."

Best to all,

Jim Lee

AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!! I hadn't thought of that one. The ability of lawyers to mess up the system something awful…

I am beginning to think the missing OS judgment essay was in the column I shipped off to Nikkei BYTE and thus not up here yet. I confess I am getting a bit confused. It used to be I had a crew of editors at BYTE who took care of some of these details. I didn't work them too hard, but there are a lot of things that just take time to do that I end up having to do myself now...  Oh. Well. As Carmen sings to Don Jose, "and most exhilarting of all, LA Liberte!" Freedom has its price of course...

If you get bored here and the subject interests you, look up:


Linkname: The Emerging American Imperium


-by Irving Kristol; originally in the WSJ

Quite a prescient article. And a bit frightening. Incidentally, the last ROMAN Emperor was one of the sons of Marcus Aurelius. The rest of them all came from the provinces. Empire has its price, too, as the Romans found themselves ruled by their 'subjects'.


Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning

I still haven't managed to build a page with the new opera pictures including Mrs. Pournelle, and I better try to do that tomorrow.

Went out to Fry's today and bought, for under $100, a Pentium 133 chip and motherboard. That will go into Pentafluge to replace the Socket 4 system I managed to burn up by getting the chip in with the wrong rotation. This is a Socket 7 system and you can't get the chip in wrong.

This new Pentafluge will get Windows 98, and eventually migrate up to the Monk's Cell as my writing machine, with Windows 98 and Office 2000. I'll also get the Linux box done as soon as this madhouse settles down. Two opera openings in a row.

Massinet's Werther, which is based sort of on Goethe's novel about a young swain who yearns for a married woman and eventually scrags himself over her (Men have died and worms have eaten them, but not for love, only I guess they really did: young men used to do themselves in with copies of the Goethe novel in their pockets) -- anyway the story suffers a bit from the translation to operatic form, because there's not time for any real relationship between Werther and Charlotte to develop. To make it all worse, in the final act they actually talk about things they did together (in the novel) but they didn't have a chance to do (in the opera). Also it's in French, which I don't understand as well as German. But the supertitles took care of most of that. Not all: they left out a key one, but fortunately I heard that line. Paula Rasmussen, one of the LA Artists in Residence for a couple of years, was terrific. We've been following her development, and she's really good. For that matter, another of Roberta's proteges -- protégé is too strong a word and implies too much action on our part, but I don't have a better word to hand -- was Richard Bernstein (you can see his picture in my pictures gallery) who was Escamillo in Carmen last night. With a little more work on the athletics he could make a career just doing that role. His voice was certainly good enough. He needs to move a little more like a toreador, particularly when moving away from the audience, and in the knife fight he ought to be more tricky and skillful. Don Jose has to win, but Jose is a soldier and will fight differently from a toreador. Wouldn't take him a lot of practice to be the best Escamillo alive today.

I have been mucking about with Front Page and the web site. Front Page in theory has a way that will let me create new folders and organize stuff into them. In theory you can then drag files into a new folder, and Front Page will update all the source code to point to the new subdirectory. In practice it did the code update but it didn't upload atom.gif from the folder her into the image subdirectory on the web when I did "publish", so I got broken link images. I fixed that by using ftp to put atom.gif into the images folder, but there may be others. I appreciate your telling me when you find that sort of thing.

Mostly I wanted to use Front Page to set up a new system of navigation: create "viewnav" and "mailnav" pages, which would be the master pages you'd go to for VIEW and MAIL, and on them would be links to the current and past pages, and maybe a bit of a summary of what's in each of those pages. IN practice that doesn't work: if you use the automatic features of Front Page, it won't just put the automatic links into the navigation pages. It wants to put those navigation toolbars in EVERY page on the Navigation chart, whether upstream or downstream from the navigation page I created. Since my page designs didn't anticipate adding new frames around them the results were pretty awful. I hope I managed to undo all of that. I think I did. But if I turn on any kind of shared borders, they have to be turned on for all the pages, not just for selected pages; or that seems to be the case for me. This isn't the feature I want at all.

What I want is to turn on a way to have any pages I drag into the Navigation View automatically be listed and linked to on the navigation page above them, but not have all those borders and buttons propagate downhill to pages below. I don't seem to be able to do that, but maybe I'm messing about in the wrong way. I'll keep trying. There seems to be no way to tell Front Page to treat some pages different from others. Maybe one needs two web sites with links? Both on the same server, of course.


I'm about to go Monk's Cell it.

I got this in the mail:

Go to Microsoft Word and type in "I'd like Bill Clinton to resign." without quotes.

Now highlight(select) the entire sentence and go to the Thesaurus.

The result is not what I would have predicted. But now I learn why:

That just happens to be the synonym produced to anything beginning "I’d like...". It works equally well with "I’d like Bill Gates dead" or "I’d like Jerry Pournelle to write more books".

  • Rob Campbell

I never knew that. Strange thing to put in a thesaurus. Then:

Try typing

Bill Clinton

highlight it and use the thesaurus. It says "Bill of divorcement". I wonder how much AI Microsoft puts into their products.

Michael Hansen

potofgol.gif (580 bytes)

Your note about Bill Clinton is perpetuating a net myth. Note that when you click on the Thesaurus, it says not found. So by typing anything between the two Thesaurus's entries of ice-cream parlor and I'll drink to that will result in - I'll drink to that. There has been a bunch of these going around.

Mike Lucas []

Which is probably enough on the subject...


Friday, September 11, 1998

Most of the country is waiting for the shoe to drop. It will be one heck of a test of the Internet's carrying capacity. Historic event, history in the making: how many are interested in the constitutional precedents and the use of the net--you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free--and how many just want to find out what happened to the cigar?

Caligula appointed his horse a Senator of Rome. History repeats itself, this time as farce. I've forgotten who said that. I could look it up, but no doubt one of you will tell me. An interesting world.

Installed the new mother board in Pentafluge yesterday, and it won't boot. Two things wrong. First, the new boards are too small and crowded; it was very difficult to get the full length DPT ISA SCSI board to insert, and I may not have been able to get it in properly.

My first attempts to boot didn't get video: the ATI video board was lodged against the chip fan so tightly that apparently it wasn't quite properly seated. Now I can get video and access to the BIOS, so we'll see.

The generic mother board from Fry's is an EFA Info-Express Viking II. It has exceedingly poor documentation. My advice would be not to try to save thirty bucks on the mother board. Get something that has decent documents, like the MSI boards I have been using, or an Iwill. I think I will get this to work, but I've already used more time than it has saved me. (Later: the documentation is complete, just dense, and needs close reading. I've got the board working, see below.)

Secondly, I don't seem to be able to get this thing to recognize a dual 3.5/5 1/4 floppy disk drive. I'll keep working on it, but I may say to heck with it and get a $30 buck case, put in a cheap IDE drive, and then an Adaptec SCSI board to run the Maxtor 5 1/4" glass disk. I have a bunch of stuff archived on those Maxtor disks and I do want to be able to access them. It's amazing how big and klunky that full size Maxtor drive looks now; when I first built Pentafluge that was state of the art.

Sudden thought: do I have to tell the BIOS there is no floppy and attach that floppy cable to the SCSI board? I'll try that. I really don't care that much about keeping that huge full size tower case going, and this machine will probably end up as a bare bones writing system for Office 2000 and little else. I note 7 gig drives at Fry's for $150 today, and $20 CDROM drives. I may turn this into an experiment: cheapest writing machine capable of Win 98 and Office 2000. Who knows, I may do a hardware book and this would make a decent chapter in it. (Again, see below: old drives sometimes need cleaning...)

Anyway, the world is waiting for the report to appear…

You will notice that there's a copyright notice at the bottom of every page. That comes from setting a 'bottom' common border for Front Page and putting the notice on the home page (I think putting it anywhere would have done it). Front Page then had to upload 132 pages, and I think it put the notice everywhere. Thanks to Robert Bruce Thompson for telling me about this feature. I don't seem to have many books on Front Page and no good one on using it: the best one I have seen was the Reviewer's guide sent out by Microsoft.

I'm now experimenting with an automatic navigation page for VIEW, but I don't think it's working properly. I'm also painstakingly building a View Index page: what that will be, and you can help me on this if you like, is one sentence references to things in past issues of VIEW. I then go that past issue, insert a bookmark, and hyperlink on the View Index page to the bookmark. It takes maybe four minutes to do once I have located the topic and though of a reference sentence. Suggestions appreciated. I won't acknowledge suggestions but I may well use them. The idea is to make View -- and later Mail -- more useful over time.

I am also playing with making better navigation pages. We'll see but the index pages would be better I think.


OK, if you are going to set up a system you really ought to pay attention. A Pentium 133 won't run at 200, and if the board you get comes with jumpers setting it to 200, you ain't going to get nowhere, nohow. Hardly surprising.

Resetting the board to 133 got that running again. Unfortunately my old dual 3.5/5 1/4" drive isn't too reliable, either. One more problem: the DPT board really is too big to fit the new motherboard. I can sort of cram it in, but I am a bit afraid of what it is doing. I got out an Adaptec board, and that works wonderfully well, in that it makes the CD and the Maxstor glass disk work. Unfortunately, it doesn't see all of the hard disk drive; it only sees the C: partition. The horrid part is that I don't remember what was on that partition. It won't be anything terribly important, though, because Pentafluge crashed sometime in April and was reformatted, and there will be Maxstor disks of everything that was on there, so will be well.

So I am about to do an Adaptec low level format of the DEC hard disk in Pentafluge, after which we reinstall W 95, and when that's done we put in W 98, and when that's done I ought to be done for a while. I'll carry the old fussbudget up to the Monk's Cell for writing books unless I think of some other machine for that. All I need up there is Office 97, InfoSelect 4, Palm Desktop, and probably some version of Franklin Ascend. Of course if I use Ascend I won't need Palm Desktop. I'll have to pick up a $29 buck cradle for the Pilot just to avoid having to carry it back and forth on my daily expeditions.

When I get this W 98 machine going, I'll do the Linux box in earnest.


I have some mail from people who hate Fry's, and apparently there's a whole web site devoted to anti-Fry's postings. While I appreciate the warnings, I fear I pay little attention to them. So far Fry's has taken back everything I have bought that doesn't work -- I'll have to go return a PS/2 Mouse cable and jack, which didn't work in the new motherboard although the one that came with the board did. I have got the mfgr. rebates on all the stuff that came with them, and sometimes that amounts to what you paid. (Of course you'll still pay sales tax on the higher price.) Most everything I have bought at Fry's works; sometimes you have to pay attention, as in my case with a board that came with a 133 Pentium but was set to 200. Sometimes things don't work, but I have never spent more than ten minutes getting the items swapped for new, or getting a credit on my credit card. Of course I got there fairly often, and combine trips, so the time to go out to swap something isn't excessive; I'm generally getting something else anyway.

I've dealt with the Fry's in Burbank and the new one in San Diego. The San Diego people were considerably more knowledgeable about the stuff I bought; the Burbank sales people are enthusiastic, but most don't know much. That's not unusual: the profit margins on consumer computer stuff are so thin that if you pay to get good sales people you have to charge more. The usual result of that is people come in, take up the sales people's time designing exactly what they want, and discover they can buy all that down the street for less. So they go to the discount house, and the place with knowledgeable sales people goes bust. I've seen it happen several times, and I have no answer to the problem.

In any event, the efa Info-Express Viking el cheapo motherboard seems to be working just fine with the 133 Intel Pentium chip, and I paid about $100 for both. The board has settings for CYRIX chips, and once I get everything working I think I'll haul out the old Cyrix P-166 chip, change jumpers, and pop it in just top see what that does. So far all my problems were caused by improper jumper settings -- my fault -- and a failing dual size floppy drive which may just need cleaning. At the moment I'm operating with a new floppy drive. When everything works I'll see if I can make the old dual reliable enough to use. I'm a bit unhappy about having to reformat the DEC hard drive; I'd have been happier to just drop the new motherboard in. If this had been an IDE system that would have worked, but this system is SCSI, I had to change SCSI controllers because of the physical layout of the new boards, and when you change SCSI controllers the result can be problematical. Oh, well.

Since I have to reformat, I guess I will go direct to Win 98 without bothering with Win 95. I don't know what tests my upgrade edition of 98 uses to determine that I have Windows, but it's probably just going to want to see a disk or something. I'll know in a couple of hours.



Saturday, September 12, 1998

Pentafluge works with Windows 95a. To install 95b I would have had to scrub down to bare wood, and it wasn't worth it. I thought I would have to reformat when I changed from DPT to Adaptec but in fact I didn't. I have 95a running just fine, booting off an Adaptec 1520 ISA SCSI board driving a DEC hard disk. It turns out that's a 1 gigabyte hard disk. They don't make them any more, and for that matter, DEC isn't in the disk drive business as I understand it. Reliable drive though.

I am using the Adaptec rather than the DPT that used to be in there largely because fitting the DPT in required a lot of work and it pressed against some jumpers and other connectors. The new motherboards are TINY. I can't get the Creative ISA sound card in there either. I put in the SIIG el cheapo (I think $27 at Fry's on a sale) sound board with Ensonic drivers, and it worked first thing, no problems at all. I am now making a copy of the disk using PowerQuest Drive Image. The copy will go on the Maxstor glass disk. This is a full size SCSI internal, using big disk cartridges. I would prefer the smaller Magneto Optical drives both from cost of media and simplicity, but I don't have any spares. Once this drive image is made, I am going to remove the Maxstor drive and the SCSI CDROM drive. I'll put a generic IDE CDROM in there. That will give me a perfectly good 1 gigabyte system for the Monk's Cell. The SCSI CDROM and the Maxstor glass disk can go into some system that will be networked here; they're pretty expensive assets for a system that will only be used for writing.

I've got the Alps floppy ($19.95 when I bought it, about $27 bucks standard price) breadboarded, so it will have to be installed in the case. The kit for that including a bezel is about $5 bucks. I've installed Microsoft Plus because I like the Leonardo da Vinci theme when I'm writing. Superstition mostly, but that's what was on the system when I first began working in the Monk's Cell, and it ain't broke so I won't fix it.

This machine will eventually have:

  • Office 97 (it only needs Word, but I'll keep the whole package now that I will have room on the disk).
  • Infoselect 4
  • Disk Mapper from the same company
  • Franklin Ascend probably seven so that it will integrate nicely with the Palm Pilot,
  • Palm Desktop
  • Bookshelf installed on the hard drive so that the dictionary and all that will be available.
  • Definitions Plus with Q&;A Write just in case.
  • Microlytics Thesaurus, also just in case.
  • Words of Wisdom, a quotes program I sometimes use.
  • Norton Utilities; I think it's an older version that's on there.
  • Norton Commander, both Windows and DOS versions. Those go on ALL my machines. I like the Commander interface ever so much better than Explorer or File Manage.
  • Drag and File, a program that does a neat job of copying the latest versions of files. It's from Canyon Software, it's shareware, and if you don't know about it, look it up. Try it: I expect you will like it.
  • Software to run the parallel port Zip Drive that will serve as the sneaker net.
  • Mijenix Power Desktop although I don't really need it. But there's room, so why not?

There may be some other stuff, but that's the key list. I use Infoselect to store character names, odd bits of information, scenes, and such like. I wish it integrated with the Palm Pilot. It would be just about good enough to be a full PIM if it did. Disk Mapper is a utility that gives visual information about what's on your disk and makes it easy to erase what you don't want. Q&;A Write was a great program in its day. It's not too large when run in a window, and what I use it for is access to the Microlytics Thesaurus and the Definitions Plus dictionaries, both of them being pretty good stuff.

Transfer of all the stuff from one machine to the other won't be too simple. I'll mostly use Laplink with a parallel cable. I can also use ZIP disks. I don't want to haul a second monitor and keyboard down from here, across the house, and upstairs just so I can have both machines running at the same time. This is taking longer to set up that I intended, but I won't have to do it again for a year or so.

Incidentally, one of the little APC UPS units that has been up in the Monk's Cell for a couple of years started screaming like a banshee, and on inspection I find that its batteries have died; but an older Clary replaced it. Battery life on the Clary units is definitely a LOT longer than on the APS systems. I am supposed to replace the batteries on this APC UPS, but I don't know how. I'll find out soon enough I suppose. I'll also find out just how long those Clary units last.

Back to work.



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