November 2 - 8, 1998
For the BYTE story, click here.
Boiler Plate: 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 subscribed, CLICK HERE for a Special Request.
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.
Last week and the week before there was a lot about LINUX, here, on the Linux pages, and in MAIL. If you are really interested in Linux there's nothing for it, you'll have to read all those. There will be more, too. The LINUX pages are organized as the log, my queries, and your responses and advice parts one, two, three, and four. There's four pages because I try to keep download times well under a minute.
| The NT 4 Adventure will be found in the
Preview Weeek VIEW View 21.
A new template from John Rice which is supposed to solve the problem of extreme slowness when I try to edit within the Front Page Editor. I had, he says, a "table within a table" in my model page, and that was the main culprit. The new template is supposed to fix that. We will see. In fact, this is a test of typing here. Hmm. It's slow, too slow for me to do a lot of work with, but a great deal faster than it used to be. At least when I backspace that happens within half a second.
Did a good bit of the November column last night, but it is very much a work in progress, particularly the sections on Linux and why use it.
Today after errands I need to put together yet one more Windows 98 system, with bells and whistles, and play with it as well as with the O'Reilly Windows 98 Annoyances, which I just got and haven't looked at, but if it's as good as the others in that series it will be worth the effort.
New copy of Golden Bow VOPT, for W 95, W 98, and NT. This is the defrag program I have used for probably ten years now, from DOS days on, and I can say I have never lost a byte of data with any version. I've used it with Windows 95, and it's fast and efficient. I haven't tried the NT version yet, in part because I am perfectly happy with Diskeeper which for a long time was the ONLY NT defrag program. All versions of VOPT are all available at the web site, www.goldenbow.com, and that's the only place to get their NT version, which is too large to fit on a floppy. I can say with no doubt that you need either Diskeeper or VOPT NT; after my experiences with the NT Service Pack 4 upgrade pouring glue into my machine until I did a defrag, I can say you need them a lot.
Errands, then a new Windows 98 machine with a 100 MHz motherboard, DVD, Syquest SPARC, STB's really hot new AGP video board, and a partridge in a pear tree.
Jesse Berst quotes the old poker maxim, "you gotta known when to hold 'em and you gotta know when to fold 'em" to Bill Gates, then says Gates must win big or Microsoft is doomed, then ends with "you gotta know when to fold 'em." This means Berst either doesn't play poker, doesn't read the material that is published under his name, or had a horrible hangover.
The one thing Microsoft cannot and will not do is "fold 'em." They clearly intend to fight to the last lawyer. The government meanwhile is apparently willing to spend all of your money to bring this off. Thus the major investment by either government or Microsoft in the next few years will be in this lawsuit. Do you think we (it's our money the government is using) or the Microsoft users (come to that that's a lot of us too) will get a good return on that investment? This is one huge misallocation of resources.
And I'm off to build a new Windows 98 machine having gone on my errands.
Very near the top I found the following quotes:
* ...to understand how to compete against OSS, we must target a process rather
than a company.
* OSS is long-term credible ... FUD tactics can not be used to combat it.
That was pretty much all I needed to decide this wasn't any genuine Microsoft document, but a parody. Possibly a fraud, but more likely an attempt at humor. No senior Microsoft official is silly enough to talk like that for others in his company, knowing that this has a good chance of leaking out. FUD -- Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt -- tactics are what Microsoft is ACCUSED of. Not what they say they do; and any Microsoft official who said that in an official document would be thought mad. Microsoft doesn't think it does FUD, it thinks it announces superior products with high credibility. The fact that the effect can be and sometimes (often?) is FUD is not the point. They just don't talk that way.
The document says that Microsoft has confirmed it as genuine, so perhaps I have a higher opinion of the Microsoft executives than is warranted. I know I would never say any such thing in writing.
Oh. Now I see. The real quote is
Loosely applied to the vernacular of the software industry, a product/process is long-term credible if FUD tactics can not be used to combat it.
IE a definition, not a damning statement of Microsoft tactics. OK, I have to start over, but with a hell of a lot less respect for the joker who did that misleading excerpt. That is worthy of the Enquirer. Of course. I recall the poem of the author who took a gun and shot that printer who printed not instead of now...
Here is a quote from the document which sounds very much like a Microsoft executive. Oddly enough, there is no comment in this highly commented document.
OSS projects the size of Linux and Apache are only viable if a large enough community of highly skilled developers can be amassed to attack a problem. Consequently, there is direct correlation between the size of the project that OSS can tackle and the growth of the Internet.
Anyone hanging around here would see the truth and significance of this. As the Internet gets larger, the ability of the Open Source Software people to cope with BIG projects grows. Moore's Law applies here, too. I think this will be something to talk about at COMDEX, and it is certainly relevant to the Second Computer Revolution. I will need to fold this into the SCR essay.
At this point I think it clear that all of you interested in computing developments would do well to have a look at this document. Here's one of the letters telling me where to find it:
From: Chuck Wingo
Ran across a link I thought you might be interested in:http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/halloween.html .
Its a Microsoft memo discussing Open Source Software (read Linux, Apache, etc.), and Microsofts response to it. It includes commentary by Eric S. Raymond. Makes for some interesting reading.
Subject: Another version of the Haloween e-mail 11f
From: Pat Connors [email@example.com]
Here is a pointer to a version of the Haloween document without the comments added.
I read this one first, then wnt back and read the comments.
Have a look for yourself. I'll have more to say in a bit. I've been commenting as I read.
More on that tomorrow. It's quite interesting.
(Thursday: see also Calvin Dodge on the Halloween papers.)
A bit sad: SyQuest, one of the older companies and about the first to do removable mass storage right, seems to be vanishing. I have a number of their drives, and I like them. A few do have problems mounting older disks, but it's largely a matter of holding your mouth right when you insert the 1.5 SyJet cartridge in an external. Internals never did have a problem.
We need reliable cartridge mass storage. Of course there are a lot of technologies for that now. Well, long live Iomega. I liked SyQuest SPARC and SyJet better than Jazz, but we sure need BIG mass storage systems.
Worked late, got a new AMD system going. It's still got Win 95b on it, but that won't last. It will have 98 before I get to bed. Networking is fine. Some problems with the Diamond Monster Sound card, under 95b anyway. We'll see what it does in 98.
Dr Tiomoid M. of Angle [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Ive only read this through once, which isnt enough for in-depth analysis, but Im struck by a number of points:
Your initial impression is close to mine. I was enormously disappointed with ESR's analysis; indeed, before I knew it was him, just from the excerpting of the FUD comment I thought this could only have been done by a rather dull partisan.
However, I'm not so sure of your analysis of Open Source Software. People often do things for returns other than economic gain. Indeed, as de Tocqueville said early on (those who have not read his Democracy in America may not understand either Democracy nor America, I'm afraid; you can learn the lessons he teaches elsewhere, but Tocqueville makes it much easier): as Tocqueville said, the genius of America was that "the associations" did much that in Europe would be done either by government or a cartel. Free associations of people working together to produce something useful to all, and paid mostly in the coin of prestige, built most of this nation; and in that sense the Open Source Software people are very much in the tradition that made us great.
Indeed, thank you for making me think on this. I think we need both OSS and Microsoft; associations and cartels. And do not forget, OSS does PRODUCE and CREATE, not just take what other people have done and distribute it. Socialism is a system in which experts in distribution distribute that which was created by others, generally against the creators's wishes, and often to the creators's ruin. Communism was socialism in a hurry, according to the early socialists; a diagnosis that tells hard against the Fabians as much as against the Leninists.
Since Gates's corporate competitors have proven, largely, to be both greedy and inept (they're supposed to be greedy but they're supposed to be smart about it), perhaps the main competition to Microsoft will come from "The Associations" as Tocqueville put it. Since I have known RMS and many of the OSS people for 15 and more years, I know something of their motivations; and the desire to mind other people's business is not very high on their list. Many are libertarians.
Do not forget -- I never shall -- that "rights" to intellectual property are granted under the US Constitution with a proviso: that establishing these limited monopolies is for the purpose of promoting the useful arts and sciences. See my Intellectual Capital essay on that one.
Anyway, thank you for stimulating some thoughts. I am sure I will have more. This and much else on the subject now on its own page.
I have mildly revised the "What we use and Recommend" Page, and I will try to make that revision a bit more frequent if only through putting some LINKS in it. You can find it here.
I have always known I am rather limited in my use of the web. I've also had a rather low opinion of its utility to find anything really useful. Every now and then I am given unambiguous evidence that I'm wrong. My publisher, Jim Baen, used the web to find some medical treatments that have kept his severely handicapped daughter alive and happy for far longer than any US medico would have believed possible, and while he was at it found some information on diet and neurology that has been very useful for me in staying active and alert. Others tell me similar stories.
And, I have to say, I have found very useful stuff on the web myself, usually because a reader has discovered something and sends me an exact reference. For all that I am very grateful.
But when I set out to find anything myself, not only is the result usually fruitless, but it makes me wonder just what use this stuff is.
Take this example. This morning's paper had a piece about nude pictures of Dr. Laura Schlesinger on the web; and a court refused to do anything about it on the grounds that it was far too late, the pictures were ubiquitous. Well, well, thought I, we'll have to see, won't we? Of course I made no notes: if this stuff is ubiquitous I won't need notes. Now understand, I know it's a bit less than good taste to go looking for stuff like this; but in part I wanted to see just what they had. I've listened to Dr. Laura on the car radio, and usually but not always I agree with her, particularly the general approach that you had better be prepared to take the consequences of your actions, and those consequences are often quite predictable. Girls who live with a man and keep house for him with no legal ties may not be certain that they'll be shifted off for a new cookie some day and have no financial stake in the man's earnings, but it's sure the way to bet. And so forth. So, I wondered, just what did she do some 3o years ago -- the paper said the pictures were from her 20's and she's now 51? I certainly did some stupid things when I was in my 20's but fortunately cameras weren't involved.
And while the pictures might be interesting as pictures, in my sixty plus years I have managed to see quite a lot of human flesh, both real in photographed, so I'm hardly burning with desire for more. What I really wanted was a site that has the STORY, something about the court case, and, yes, if there are a couple of the pictures they'd be interesting as examples of how someone as smart as she is can be quite foolish in her youth. Never happened to anyone else. And who knows, maybe she was a dish in those days. She's an attractive enough woman now, I suppose. So all in all a site with the stories -- even one that crows about hypocrisy or some such, as many such places do -- would be worth a few minutes to find while I wait for W 98 to install on my new machine in the other room.
So. Internet Explorer. It opens on a search engine. Type in Dr. Laura Schlesinger. I get hundreds of hits, only one of which (at least in the first 200) had any relevance at all, and that was her official web page. OK, maybe I don't know how to use the Microsoft search engine. I'll go to Netscape, Alta Vista, and be very specific: +Dr +Laura +nude and see what happens.
I am told that 3208 web pages fit all three. Indeed the first ten or so actually have + or AND to make certain they will be near the top. Of course they then take you to a general teaser page where they try to interest me in the hottest sex stuff around. To each his own, I suppose, but I don't find any of that interesting; I sure have no desire to go through whatever procedure is required to access more of that site. But I do note that there are 3208 pages, while the Microsoft IE search only found about 600.
But wearily I went through the Netscape stuff looking for something that wasn't internationalsluts or hotnudes or whatever, and eventually I found a page that seemed to have a title that wasn't as lurid as the others. Went to it, found it was in fact the lead to another that is even more lurid than the first ten, came back, and was prepared to page down through a few scores more until I found something I might want to deal with: only now, Alta Vista has popped up a new ad banner. It looks a little like an error dialog box, and it says I am about to enter an adult zone. Well, OK, maybe Alta Vista has some policy on this? No, that turns out to BE AN AD BANNER, and moreover, it is now affixed at the top and bottom of each group of pages when I click for the next pages. And it won't go away.
So. The Microsoft search engine is useless, and the Alta Vista one collaborates with porn advertisers: make one foray off to a questionable site, and they'll bombard you with the adult zone ad from then on.
So while one of the sites had a picture with nipple blackouts showing someone purported to be a younger Laura Schlesinger in a pose that looked more playful than shameful, that's all I have seen so far, and I wasted more time at it than I would have if I'd known. So, apparently, while there may be web search engines that are useful in finding information, the instant that anything having to do with nudity or sex appears, all sanity vanishes. I suppose that's a commentary on something.
I'm off to breakfast, but I want to call your attention to some marvelous mail. The whole section of responses to my second computer revolution paper is good; and the latest, from Professor Erwin of George mason, is worth a lot of thought. There is also a response from Clark Myers. That whole page is very much worth reading.
Interestingly, although a dozen of you have sent links, I have yet to see Dr. Laura in the flesh: the sites are either fakes or have been closed, or want a lot of money (or any money). But I have learned that if you visit a risque web site, alta vista at least puts in a cookie that triggers the "adult zone" advertisement, and makes the inescapable. This is unacceptable to me, but I am not sure what to do about it. I am interested in whether that is permanent. There are a couple of pages that seem to have links to other pages and so forth, but they lead in a circle for me. And NOWHERE is the STORY, which is to me more interesting than pix of a girl with no clothes on. I'm far more interested in why the judge thought this was ubiquitous when some of the smartest people on the web don't seem to be able to find the pictures, and secondly it would be interesting to see just how wild she was in her youth. God knows I was stupid enough in mine.
Well, I found them, ten anyway, mostly a sequence. Clearly a tease dance, and hardly remarkable although I don't suppose she will want her son looking at them (and I do suppose he will). So I guess they are more widely available than I thought, and there are some webmasters who seem to be dedicated to finding them and listing the sites. It's just that I don't usually travel in those circles. But it's still an interesting experience discovering that neither the MSN nor the Alta Vista search engines was of the slightest use. If anyone has a link to the story of these pictures I'd like to see it. The sites that seemd to put up the pictures are not long on text.
And now I need to get some real work done. Be sure to catch up on the Second Revolution. There's a lot new there.
Enough! Please! I have found all the pictures of Dr. Schlesinger, and I've also found the news, on a thing called channel2000 which is supposed to be different from channel200 and I suppose is, although their concentration on the Schlesinger affair makes me wonder. As I suspect, Dr. Laura was married only in a technical sense at the time. I thought I had heard that she had left her first husband back east before she ever came to the Los Angeles area.
Does anyone have the story of the elderly man who released those pictures? I expect if I looked through all my files I could find some interesting ones, but I'm not sure, and I know I'd rather they were burned. Of course taking pictures was neither so easy nor so, uh, common, when I was in college. But except for a mild curiosity as to why this chap thought it a good idea to spread all those pictures about (they aren't all that special; you could find better in Playboy at about the time those were taken. Indeed, at DragonCon there was a huckster booth womanned by a lady who proclaimed she had been Playmate of the Month in December 1968 or some suce (maybe it was "of the year" but I am sure it was more than 25 years ago). She'd sell you pictures of herself, current or from the past, clothed or nude, for about five bucks I think it was. Niven talked to her. I was busy talking to Dr. Smith ((well, the actor who played Dr. Smith on the old Lost IN Space series)) who was also there. Nice chap. As it happens my neighbor across the street has Robbie The Robot in his bedroom and Robbie's car in his garage. When we walk past there I will bet people anything they like they can't name what's in that garage: A Rolls and Robbie the Robot's car.)
Enough free association. Anyway, thanks.
Installed Windows 95 and upgraded to 98 on an AMD system with a board that is capable of 100 mhz and the chip can go to 300. It's that AMD 3d thing. But I have no video boards that will run with a 100 mhz board, and I recall Peter Glaskowsky telling me that few if any peripherals are happy at more than 66, so Alex and I set it up to 66 board speed and multiplier of 4.5. The BIOS sees this as 55 and 300, and everything seems happy except the Diamond Monster Sound Board. That works, but it doesn't work well; the sound from a CD is fine, but the speech synthesis on THIS MEANS WAR is just hideous. It's intelligible, but really bad quality. After dinner I'll go spelunking for new drivers. ANYONE HAVE EXPERIENCE with Monster Sound? I think I did everything right. It was bad in Win 95, and it seems no better in Win 98. Otherwise, this is one smoking machine. Everyone who has seen it is impressed: comes up and shuts down FAST FAST FAST, and THIS MEANS WAR plays crisp and fast with a lot of objects on the screen. Alex named it Eagle One for some reason, and I don't like to change names on machines, or I'd call it Smokin' Johnny.
Network works fine with a SOHO el cheapo Fry's 100 base-t card, and so far it's all neat.
Well, WORD is back to normal: it offered me Thursday, November 4, 1998 as the automatic entry. I had hoped the NT 4 upgrade would fix that.
I don't get a lot out of maintaining this site, and I particurlarly don't get much out of taking the time to put my notes in print; so when the first thing I see in the morning is this, it does make me wonder what is the point:
(You can see this particular rant in Meta Journal.)
(About 40 lines moved from here.)
It's time for breakfast. I was up late writing the column, because I am due to go north to a big game launch with much hoohaw and hype tomorrow and I want it done tonight. Alex, Jeff Siegel, and I set up a new system for Windows 98, and we learned a lot. I had an interesting experience with 100 MHz motherboards and the new AMD K6 2 300 MHz chip. Read about it in the column. It will be out in a couple of months in Japanese, then I'll post it in English.
On the other hand, there are rewards to this job. One is Calvin Dodge's rant on the Halloween papers. Don't miss it.
Mail on the PC 100 system: click here.
Thursday Afternoon: I have made a Halloween Papers page, so it's all in one place. Definitely worth your time.
Jim Ransom came over with his son Robert. Robert is one of those high school age boys who knows more about programming than I ever will; it makes me a bit more optimistic for the future of the Republic. He's done some good stuff with Delphi that may lead to making life easier to get Roberta's Reading Program redone. If you don't know about that program, you ought to.
Thanks to all who sent letters responding to my morning unhappiness. I can't possibly post them all. I doubt I can even respond to all. I fear earlier took precedence on many of those letters, and a long train of letters in my favor is perhaps a bit more than anyone wants to see (except me! Cheered me up something wonderful, they did)!
The fact is, though, I am going to have to cut back on the time spent doing all this. I fear I will have to accumulate mail for a couple of days, select the best among the letters, and post only a few. My idea of 'best' would shock my professors and teachers I think; I have no problem cleaning up spelling and grammar errors when the content is interesting. Interesting is also a matter of judgment: some things interesting to me may not be for all readers (and sometimes I know it isn't interesting but I put it up for the good of your souls, or because the letter asks a question I have been thinking about and gives a good excuse for talking about it. Anyway, I have to cut way back.
Tomorrow I am off to the Winchester House of Mystery, where Mindscape is doing a big game launch. I'm going in part for the company, and partly because I learn a lot at game launches (or have in the past). I doubt there will be much up here before Sunday night. I will be getting my mail, and I may make up a batch of letters and replies to post when I get back assuming I get any time. I am also taking all my fiction to work on of course.
Thanks again to all. I may or may not be in here before Sunday night. On the other hand, there is a LOT of new stuff here. See the Halloween Papers page; meta journal; and much on Linux. You shouldn't be too bored. In the meta papers Talin comments on Linux and ease of use...
I may have a bad MSI Motherboard. It works at 66 but when I go to 100 I get no video from any of several video boards. I will have to try 100/300 with something else. But 66/300 is really fast enough for most of what you would want. This one is MS 5169 ATX AL9 from Micro Star. I just tried changing from 66/300 to 100/300 and no video, no post codes, nothing. I'll work on this again, but for now, this is restricted to 66. It works fine there. And now I am off for the weekend.