THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
January 4 - 10, 1999
This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the monthly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 4,000 words.
|Previous Weeks of The View:||For an index
of previous pages of view, see VIEWDEX.
See also the New Order page, which tries to make order of chaos. These will be useful.
For the rest, see What is this place? for some details on where you have got to.
If you subscribed:
If you didn't and haven't, why not?
For the BYTE story, click here.
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. There are new updates to four.
Highlights this week:
January 4, 1999
You can now find a sort of summary of what reviews are available here, which may make it a bit easier to navigate. With luck my reorganization hasn't messed up the New Order and Viewdex index pages supplied by John Rice. If you don't know about those pages you ought to look at them.
It turns outwe need to build a store. We hadn't set up Roberta's system properly. She had relied on a walk through by some tech support people who I guess were more interested in getting rid of her than anything else; anyway we have it pretty well wrong. We'll have to start over. This doesn't have any effect on subscribers other than that we'll have to take all the orders to the bank and put them in by hand (or use a telephone system). There are enough that that's going to take a bit of time, but that's hardly a big problem: I can do them after I write, when I'm not much use for anything but routine chores anyway.
I seem to recall there are software engines that let you build "shopping carts" and "stores". I went looking but what I find costs thousands of dollars, hardly what we need since we don't have many products. I guess I'm just going to have to learn how to do all that myself. Darnell probably knows anyway; but if you know of a simple, low-cost "store" or "shopping cart" package, one that doesn't need to be hosted on the publisher's site, please let me know. In the old days the BYTE editors would have a bunch of them around and I'd get hold of the publishers after selecting the best couple or three and try them out, but alas, BYTE is gone, and I don't have the support of the best editorial staff there ever was. Except I sort of do: we're not as organized as BYTE was, but collectively this community of readers is probably as good a source and support group as exists anywhere.
Anyway, I'm looking for "store front" software. If it's simple enough, I can use it to do a Chaos Manor garage sale. (Not of review books and software items; I don't do that. Review stuff goes to schools.) But I have a bunch of copies of my own books, like Step Farther Out, and for that matter a lot of one of a kind books I've bought and read and no longer need but hate to throw out in the street. I'd have to charge enough to cover having Doc at Mail Boxes pack and ship it, and a bit more to hire one of the local kids to take it down to Mail Boxes in batches. No great profit but it would help clear this place out. But while some of the packages I have seen are probably "worth" thousands of dollars, that's more than it's "worth" to me to do all that.
We're doing early Spring Cleaning here.What that means is that I have thrown (alas quite literally) about seven hundred pounds of books, review software that was stashed in boxes under tables or alongside the book cases in the Great Hall, papers that piled in archeological layers on my desk, and just general clutter into the middle of the floor. Now I have no choice but to sort through it, because otherwise I can't even move from one end of the room to the other. This has produced many bags of trash, but also boxes of stuff that ought not be wasted. Books I have read but don't want to keep. Shareware packages that I probably ought to review but never will, and which ought to be passed on to someone who will at least try them out. Review books that need to be taken to a school or given to someone who will use them and would never buy them (I work hard at not depriving a publisher of a sale). This is going to take about a week, and I have a column to do in here. I'm also on a roll with Mamelukes, and that momentum has to be kept up by writing every day. And there's this place to keep up. It's a great life if you don't weaken
I find from reading Peter Kent's disquisition that shopping cart software is a bigger problem than we knew. Darnell says all the shopping cart stuff on his site (where we hope to be settled in by next month) is custom done. I suppose I am up to that, but I'll go on doing the research. There has to be a quick and dirty method for all this.. Things are complicated by the fact that Darnell and Xiphia are showing a new encyclopedia at CES (where I am not going) so it may be a few days before he and I and Roberta can all get together and straighten things out. Well, a day: you learn something new every day or week, and what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, and it all makes me a great deal more eager to get back to fiction where I have some control over the universe...
NEW SECTION: or rather new organization. I have collected most of the Special Reports into one folder, and added a SUMMARY PAGE on Reports. Ths ought to make it easier to find out what reports exist, and what their subjects are, and for some of you it may be a pleasant surprise: there is some good stuff there.
And disaster: I have been reorganizing, but I seem to have lost the new TEMPLATE with the picture and so forth, and reverted to the older format. Maybe taht's best, maybe not, but I can't find the original blank template, meaning I must have saved over it. Anyway, there are now summary pages that are pretty good; I should probably copy the summary pages to the template with my picture and the better index on the left margin, but ENOUGH for the DAY. And THEN SOME.
And now this:
Donald W. McArthur [firstname.lastname@example.org] reports
What this is is that I'm being quoted. I suppose that's a good thing...
And now I find that whacking Saddam in Operation Free Willie cost us over a billion dollars and used some weapons we cannot replace for a couple of years. Oh what fun. See
You would not suppose how much time has been wasted with www.cybercash.com today. Trying to get their ICVERIFY software to work took all day for Roberta; eventually their tech support people decided that her Creative Modem Blaster (56K) was the problem. I knew better but I went to Fry's and bought her a new US Robotics. Of course that didn't work either, but by then we were past time for their tech support people to have gone home, so she will spend tomorrow on it as well.
What happens is that they want some complex initialization string. Meanwhile modems no longer come with any documents explaining what all those &;Q0 and EQV and &;M0 abd S11=3456 and other stuff mean. I suppose I have some older USR documents -- at one time USR printed what amounts to a full manual on the bottom of the modem, and furnished you with a 100 page manual that explained ever command in detail, and I am sure I still have some of those. But it takes a different initialization string for each modem. Why this is I do not know.
But Roberta is right: no wonder so many small businesses fail. It is all very complicated, and you are dealing with well meaning people who do not understand what they are doing, and who are as desperate as you are. Now I suppose I can get in the act.
The symptoms are that it won't dial at all; or, if you get the Init String just right, it does dial, and the wonderful words "VERIFYING" appear; after which it suddenly dials again. And again. And eventually says it has timed out and the card is REJECTED. But this is my own card, on which I had just bought the modem at Fry's, and I know darned well it is all right.
Of course their ICVERIFY needed a long patch, nearly a megabyte of download, this for a $750 software package; and of course their tech support people are echeloned with the first two ranks knowing less about the situation than Roberta does. Eventually you must make an appointment to talk to a thickly accented man, who doesn't understand a lot more than the young ladies in the first tier. Since it is time for my annual orchids and onions column I suppose I will have plenty to write about. I don't like stories without happy endings: we will see if in the morning we can get anywhere. They certainly cannot say that the new USR modem is "too new" as they did about the Creative Modem Blaster.
So small businesses fail. And outfits like this one that are supposed to support people but which end up making them nervous wrecks get wealthy.
Meanwhile the error messages in ICVERIFY are incomprehensible or non-existent, the tech support people don't seem to know very much, and we are still trying to get things set with them and the bank. So don't be surprised if your subscription charges dont get put through immediately. If need be we will take them down to the bank and enter them there. Of course the bank was recently bought out, and all the long term women managers who understood things were replaced by men with thick accents who spend most of their time talking to their brokers while you wait for them. This is I guess part of the penalty of the New World Order. I remember when I used to go talk to my banker. Who knew my name, which he could say in English. But those days are gone.
So come morning we try again to get www.cybercash.com to make sense.
January 5, 1999
Begin with a big Chaos Manor Orchid for Jason Bracken, one of the front line tech support people at www.cybercash.com; one who knows what he is about. He was able to come up with the mysterious modem initialization string that allows ICVERIFY actually to verify credit card transactions. The software itself deserves heaps of onions: with incomprehensible error messages it remains one of the most damnably difficult things to use that you can imagine; and since it is intended for use by business people without much computer experience you may imagine its effects on American free enterprise. ICVERIFY as bought won't work until patched. Then it detects an ordinary US Robotis modem and generates an initialization string that WILL NOT WORK, but which does not tell you that it is not working, giving you utterly misleading messages. And we have no evidence that anyone in the company other than Mr. Bracken understands this. I have had more intelligent conversations with Sasha the Husky dog than Roberta managed with some of the cybercash people.
We are not the only ones who have had this kind of problem. See mail.
But it now works, and we can process the subscriptions (I verfied that the subscriptions arrived, but I took people's word for it that their cards are valid; if I find different I'll let those with errors know).
Roberta's software doesn't know we can take Master card, but we can; I'll set that up in the next day or so. Thanks to all who asked.
That's one problem solved and despite all the interuptions I got 500 words of Mamelukes (sequel to Janissaries) written yesterday evening; not a big accomplishment but at least the momentum continues.
Alt.Mail continues to heat up, with some new good letters. And see MAIL for a note and disclaimer on overclocking Celeron.
I have a note from CMP executives saying that if the links from my BYTE columns to this site are broken, they will fix them. Now what I need is a list of the broken links, or enough that we can see a general pattern. Of course I am prepared to be pleasantly surprised and find that the links are in fact already fixed. All help appreciated: there's still only me here.
More reorganization: you'll find a better guide to reports on the REPORTS page now. You might bookmark that page since it will be kept up to date on reports available.
If you want to pay by Master Card you can: just let us know that's what it was. Turns out we have no trouble processing those. It wasn't obvious when we set things up.
Does anyone know much about McAffee OIL CHANGE? It was a decent program a few years ago but when I started to install it just now on Eagle One, it first wanted me to log on to the Internet, which I did, then the program wants my user name and password. Given that it is going to make calls on my behalf, WHY SHOULD IT KNOW? I was already logged in, so my password wasn't needed. Why should this program know my password, and do I want to give it to it? I am not normally paranoid but the program comes with an enormous long password of its own for installation: meaning they're paranoid. Should I be? I don't know...
January 6, 1999
Column day. There won't be too much here. I'm still dithering over whether to let Oil Change know my password. I like the idea of Oil Change, but...
Long day, much mail, and I am doing the column.
David Sims, the new editor of the on-line BYTE, made contact with me concerning the broken links between BYTE.COM and chaos manor, and has put at least one proper link into the BYTE site. This was gracious of him. There was also some discussion of the conditions under which I might write for the new on-line magazine. My guess is that I cost too much, and I confess I am not interested in cutting my price because I am getting both fiction and non-fiction done here. But it was a pleasant conversation, and the new BYTE staff had nothing to do with either the purchase or the abrupt termination of BYTE so they must not be held to account for this.
January 7, 1999
This was column day so I am late getting anything up. The column got off, and all is well. Over in Mail there is a request for help.
I recently sent some mail to people and mentioned chaosmanor.com but alas, that isn't mine; a writers club grabbed that name. Use jerrypournelle.com instead. Sorry.
January 8, 1999
It appears that the O'Reilly book is a reality. Spent the day cleaning mailing lists; if you subscribed and did not get mail today, then you are either very recent (about 10 I think) or you've fallen through the cracks and need to let me know when and how you subscribed so I can do something about it.
Good bit of mail posted. Some of the office cleaned up. Mostly the day was devoured by locusts.
And one astonishing letter: why we couldn't get ICVERIFy to work with the Creative Modem Blaster. It's a primitive world out there...
I have done extensive indexing on The Yorktown Affair page, after learning that this page is turned up by many serach engines as a place to look for information on the subject. [USS Yorktown in trouble because NT crashed after Divide By Zero error.] I also found the original DiGiorgio Proceedings article that caused much of the furor. DiGorgio doesn't so much question the Smart Ship concept and the automation of much that goes on, but NavSea's implementations: with sailors watching consoles controlling processes they have no control over, meaningless searches for ground faults, and check procedures inherited from a time when things weren't smart. I have found an on-line source for that article (June 1998) and it is worth reading. Go to US Naval Institute Proceedings and drill to June 1998. It's all rather technical but somewhat important...
At www.shockrave.com (you get sent through Macromedia first) you can find out what kind of whizbangs are available on line, like pointless games, Boy Scout humor level cartoons about the sexual activities of mythical creatures, and I suppose other stuff but I got bored. Bob Metcalfe says millions go there, 50,000 people a day, and millions of dollars of advertising flow through. I guess whizbangs sell. All their feedback mail says the place RULES, so I guess I am completely out of phase with the world. Sigh. I wish I understood this penchant for mindless dazzles. I liked A Bug's Life, but I thought it clever (the credits were wonderful) with some intelligence indicated; that sure isn't what I'm seeing with the cookie factory raid. Perhaps it's like Samuel Johnson's comment about a woman preaching?
January 9, 1999
I mentioned Strategy of Technology in a recent letter to subscribers, and discovered that some had never heard of it. That goes to show that this web site is more complicated than it ought to be, and suggests that I need to do more work on organization to let people know what's here. Herewith a short explanation:
Fair warning: this is done informally and from memory, and I may have one or two details wrong.
Strategy of Technology was written in the 60's and published in 1970. The authors of record were Stefan T. Possony and Jerry Pournelle, and the book, long out of print, was published by Dunellen The University Press of Cambridge, Mass., which no longer exists. There was in fact a third author, Francis X. Kane, Ph.D., (Col. USAF, Ret'd) then the Director of Plans for USAF Systems Command.
The book was a success d' estime: that is, it was quite influential, but sold something under 20,000 copies, and went out of print when the publisher vanished. For a while it was a textbook in all three Service Academies and remained so for several years at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. It was also used at the Air War College in Alabama and the National War College, and it's my understanding that Xerox copies are used (with our permission) in some classes at the war colleges to this day. Strategy of Technology was very much a book for the Seventy Years War (or Cold War if you like); although the principles remain true and important, all the examples are pretty well drawn from that conflict and specifics are directed to weaknesses in the nomenklatura system that governed the USSR in those times.
Over the years we rewrote some of the chapters and published them in various places including my own THERE WILL BE WAR series (books that were about 3/4 science fiction but which contained significant non-fiction essays on military history and principles). Dr. Possony had a disabling stroke in the mid-1980's and died shortly after the Cold War ended; he was lucid enough to know that the USSR was brought down, and that he had been a key player in that game. As one of the authors of the seminal THE PROTRACTED CONFLICT (with Robert Strausz-Hupe and William Kintner) as well as STRATEGY OF TECHNOLOGY, and in countless other ways, he had a major influence in winning the Seventy Years War. In my judgment we would not have won the Cold War without him; he was one of the great men of this century although few have heard of him today.
The book has been out of print for years, and when this web site began I was urged to make copies available here, which I did. I have posted the "revised" edition, which contains most of the first edition, prefaces, and some extensively reworked chapters done mostly by Kane and myself, although Stefan had a hand in some of the earlier revision, and we did discuss the later ones with him. After his stroke he remained aware but had great difficulty in communication, which produced extreme frustration as he tried to convey important thoughts that came out incoherently; a very painful situation for all concerned.
The html code which presents the book with extensive notes was done by professionals working as volunteers, and has some minor flaws, (I would be grateful to anyone who can correct them) but the book can be read here. I have been urged to make it available in Acrobat pdf format, but I have never had the time to do so. Perhaps one day.
When we put it up here we called it an experiment in shareware, and I asked that if you read the book you send me a dollar; a dollar bill in an envelope will do. Some have also added a couple of dollars to checks sent as subscriptions to this web site. Over the years that has amounted to a couple of hundred dollars, and at his birthday party a week or so ago Dr. Kane and I agreed that rather than divide this small sum, I'll just send it all to Dr. Possony's widow, who still lives in Mountain View.
Regina Possony was a survivor of Stalin's prison camps (they met in the United States after both had fled). She was born in Berlin and her father was an influential Communist politician who fled with his family to the USSR on the rise of Hitler; they were of course put into a labor camp. As both Jews and Communists they would hardly have survived in Berlin, so a Russian camp was a stark but better alternative to remaining in Nazi Germany. As a young girl Mrs. Possony had met Albert Einstein on a family visit to the United States, and from the USSR prison camp wrote him a letter addressed to "Dr. Albert Einstein, United States of America". The US Post Office delivered it to him at Princeton University. Einstein was gracious enough to reply, and even to send a small package of food and hygienic goods, which raised her status somewhat in Stalin's estimation. After Stefan's stroke she singlehandedly kept him alive for a decade when no one expected him to live a month.
Stefan T. Possony was a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution until he died. He had formerly been a Professor of Political Science at Georgetown University, and a Pentagon intelligence officer for the United States. Prior to the invasion of France in 1940 he was an intelligence officer in the French Air Ministry, to which he came from the Air Ministry of Czechoslovakia. His escape from France during the confusion of the Fall of France was a fascinating story; at one point he contemplated using a kayak to paddle to Spain, but managed to get one of the last tickets to Oran.
He had fled Czechoslovakia during the Nazi invasion. He had come to Prague from Vienna, where he obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Vienna and joined the Schusschnigg ministry opposing the Anschluss with Germany; he was on the Gestapo's wanted list, and left for Czechoslovakia as the Wehrmacht rode in. He used to say that the Gestapo got his library three times, in Vienna, Prague, and Paris. In the 70's and early 80's Stefan was quietly influential, directing several Pentagon studies of Soviet leadership and strategy. His biography of Lenin is still about the best tool for understanding the founder of the USSR. Alas it is long out of print.
Stefan Possony was perhaps the single most important member of my Citizens Advisory Council on National Space Policy which among other duties assisted Dr. Kane in writing Transition Team papers on space and military policy for the incoming Reagan Administration. Possony was one of the major architects of the Strategic Defense Initiative. Strategy of Technology introduced the notion of a strategy of "assured survival" in contrast to "assured destruction" and Assured Survival is the title of one chapter of that book.
Dr. Kane and I would like to revise the book and get it back in print, since the principles seem even more important now than they were when it was written. We're both getting old enough that we wonder if that will happen, but it should. As written it's still worth reading (in my judgment), and several War College students have used it as part of their advanced degree work. Revising it was going to be the project of one USAF officer at the post graduate school, but he was needed as director of a weapons lab and left the school before that could be done. Meanwhile, the book exists here.
Studio City, CA
Saturday, January 09, 1999
Donald McArthur and others have reminded me that psychobabble and pseudoscience, crystals and auras and psychic phenomena, are creeping into our universities as well as our culture. I am reminded that Niven, Flynn, and I took a shot at this stuff in FALLEN ANGELS, a book that I haven't mentioned recently, but which still sells, and we're still pretty proud of it. It's a science fiction novel about an eco-disaster that we never planned on, as well as a compliment to science fiction fans. Mostly it's not a bad read.
(You can see McArthur's Washington Post letter here.)
But in fact it is a serious subject, and I need to write on it. The problem is that the schools don't teach kids to read or do much with numbers, and the result is that only the 'educated' classes CAN tell the difference between science and cult magic, and it is often not to their interest to let the rest of the citizens know that the nonsense they learned in school is just that. And since the teachers don't know the difference between real science and politically correct nonsense either, how are the citizens to learn better? Dioxin is a great example: it became dangerous when some people built on a flood plain. The Congess says you aren't part of disaster relief if you build your community on a flood plain; a Missouri community was flooded out in an entirely predictable flood, and since they couldn't get disaster relief any other way, the fact that dioxin was in the soil was used to get around the restrictions. The odd thing is that it did the community little good; but the legend of dioxin, which is deadly if you happen to be a guinea pig but gives you acne if you're a human, continues to this day. The legal findings about dioxin won't hold up in a science court, but we don't HAVE any science courts. And so forth.
The Internet is a place for a lot of information and misinformation and gives few guidelines to how to tell the one from the other. The advice I had at a AAAS panel on the subject a few years ago was to go to places where at least they CARE about the truth. This is one of them. I am under no illusion that I am infallible; but at least I care, and I try to get things right, and I'm open to correction. By correction I do not mean tirades void of facts...
Meanwhile we have all kinds of anti-science phenomena getting publicity. Mostly that doesn't bother me: I can live with Psychic Friends and Millenialists like Gary North who are honest about what they are saying will at least cause you to look at the universe from a different perspective: while I tend to the rationalist view of the universe (I suppose if I need a label you can call me a Thomist), I know there are other valid ways to see the world. But there is a difference between a frank Revalationist view and the pseudoscientists, who mask their irrationality under the fancy that they know what they are talking about, and that they too are "scientific". Some know better and are frauds; more dangerous perhaps are those who really believe the nonsense they propagate.
For anyone interested in Thoth Missiles, here's a pointer.
Several readers have told me that Interplay's BALDUR'S GATE is the best fantasy role playing game they ever saw. It arrived today. I have so much work to do I don't know when I'll get to it, but I clearly have to. It never rains but it pours...
While I was looking there, I realized that I used to know how to grab off images from other web sites, but I have forgotten the method. I know there is a way, because I have done it, but I sure don't seem to be able to now. Odd.
Thanks to several readers who pointed out that it's absurdly simple: right click and save as. How and why I forgot that is beyond me. Age? Anyway, thanks.
January 10, 1999
2028: San Francisco Chronicle. In the X-Files it would be called the case of the CEO and the UFO. Joe Firmage, who at the age of 28 has made not one but two mega-fortunes as a computer pioneer in California's Silicon Valley, has quit the $2 billion company, USWeb/CKS, which he helped found to promote what he calls "the most important news event in 2000 years" -- his belief that many of today's scientific advances came from space aliens. Firmage has been dubbed the "Fox Mulder of Silicon Valley" after the hero of the "X-Files" television series, and his own beliefs seem strangely parallel to the dark mix of UFO contact and government conspiracy that lie at the show's core. Backed by his immense resources, Firmage has sought to prove a variety of theories regarding UFOs, including one which holds that many recent scientific advances including semiconductors, fiber optics and lasers can be traced to a purported alien spaceship crash in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947 that was covered up by the government. Firmage has already laid the groundwork for a campaign to publicize his UFO beliefs. He has set up the International Space Science Organization to promote his views, sunk $3 million into an endeavor dubbed "Project Kairos" aimed at preparing humanity for alien contact, and posted a 600-page manifesto, entitled ``The Truth,'' on his website (www.thewordistruth.org). Included in "The Truth" are new documents from a source Firmage calls the "Deep Throat of Cyberspace" which he claims back up his space alien theories. One of the documents is a purported 1947 memo from President Harry Truman to Secretary of Defense James Forrestal that sets up a secret US government operation dubbed "Majestic Twelve" to investigate extraterrestrials. Another is an alleged June 1947 letter from Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer to scientist Vannevar Bush giving advice on how to deal with alien visitors.
I have Visual Basic 6. As is my practice I tend to make safety copies since things FLOW here so, and it's not hard for things to get lost; by having a single archive library I can find things. We use ADAPTEC EZ CD Creator, which generally works. The system has a Ricoh CD R drive in Scarlet, and what I often do is to copy the CDROM into memory; Scarlet has an enormous disk, so this isn't a problem.
When I did that my troubles began. I was able to copy the first disk, but the second was interesting: having copied it, I couldn't write all the files to a CDROM! It was too large and there were too many files. Understand: I had COPIED using Microsoft Windows 98 the contents of a CDROM to a hard drive; the result was that the files in the directory containing all and only the files from the CDROM now added up to more bytes (and by quite a lot) than a CDROM can contain.
It was even worse with the library disks (Visual Basic 6 Enterprise Edition comes on 4 CDROMS). Microsoft seems to have some new tricks: files change sizes and dates, and Norton sees them as having improper time/date stamps. The hard disk got fouled up with odd things that couldn't be deleted. The system began to FREEZE. I was able to make a copy of the first disk, but Norton was reporting that the hard drive image of that disk had improper time stamps. And so forth.
Getting rid of those things was sheer hell. The library disk in particular contains about 5,000 files, some short, some long, and the total size of all the files, when copied, adds up to a lot more than 600 megabytes. And Scarlet was locking up now, even when just sitting there doing nothing.
I scrubbed all that stuff, and reset, and did a disk optimization, and reset again. That fixed the problems, and I can burn CD's again. I was able to make a direct copy of VB Six Disk One (that is, I told EZ Creator to copy a CD rather than reading it onto the hard disk and then making a CD containing those files). I'm now attempting to make a direct copy of the Library Disk. And at some point I intend to compare the original Microsoft CD to the copies made just to see what's going on.
LATER: all the Microsoft CD's copy directly and so far as I can tell make true copies; it's only when you try to copy their contents to a hard disk that you get weirdnesses.
I suppose it could be I was just unlucky, and Microsoft had nothing to do with this, but I don't think that's it; after all, we did see a file size total larger than the capacity of a CDROM, yet all those files were copied from the CDROM. I'll look into it another time; does anyone out there know more? Meanwhile, I am told there are some copy protection tricks in use that EZ CD Creator doesn't cope with, but there are CD copy programs that will. I didn't think I needed one of those since I understood that the tricks were all with games, (which probably need copy protection) but if Microsoft is deliberately making it hard for me to make archive copies of their enterprise editions of programs (and I think that is what has happened here) then I may need some more powerful copy programs; I really do lose disks in the clutter, and it's useful to have an archive of gold disks that I can turn to in an emergency.
Later: as I said, direct copies work; I just can't make a hard disk image of the CD. That's in itself a bit odd, but since you can install the libraries to a remote networked drive, it's not a big problem either.
Copy of Visual Basic 6 CD to Hard Drive being larger.
This problem can be explained in two words, Cluster Size. When files are copied to a hard drive, every file, even one that is 1 Byte in size, takes one cluster on a hard drive. If you are using FAT 32 then cluster size can be a small as 4 K, with FAT 16 a cluster on a large hard drive can be 16 K, 32 K or even 64 K in size. Data recorded on a CD are on one long spiral track and the dont have to deal with cluster size, just error correcting code overhead.
Right. I thought just after I wrote that that the problem had to be cluster sizes: we're using FAT 32, and of course there are no cluster sizes on a CDROM. Thanks for the reminder: I had forgotten that CD's don't HAVE clusters. I wonder what else I am forgetting? Anyway, direct copies work, Microsoft has done nothing, and as usual
It's Pournelle's Fault
I have hundreds of these, and some differ only in the last few characters. In the example above there is also a file "A mute can express herself with her hand but not with her blank.wav". This means I can't simply truncate the file.
There are HUNDREDS of these and about half are longer than 64 characters.
I need a BASIC program that will: read in files in order from a directory, starting at the top and going through to the bottom; for each file take the original file name and store it in an array; create a unique file name less than 64 characters long (preferably maybe half that); store the unique file name in the array in such a way that a program can later enter the table with the full phrase itself and have returned the unique file name; rename the original wave file to the unique file name.wav; and when it has gone through all the hundreds of files in that directory starting at the top and going through to the bottom, then write out the array of original and new file names in a data file.
The reason for this convoluted procedure is that in the MAC version of Roberta's program we take a phrase and hand it to the text to speech converter, and get the phrase spoken; I want to use much the same program, but take the phrase, hand it to the table function, get the unique file name associated with that phrase, and then play that wave file. We'll read in all the wave files associated with a single lesson so that's all stored on disk for the lesson, so that we don't have the delay of going to the CDROM to get the file to play it.
Anyway, I'm sort of working on a meta program to help bring Roberta's program over to Windows, and a converter that would do that with the wave files would help a lot. I could probably write it in a day or so, if I ever got a day. When I was doing BASIC programming a lot I could have written it in an hour. Alas, I got out of the programming turn of mind, and I'm in fiction mode just now. I think I may have located a programmer who can take the original MAC Supercard program of Roberta's reading program and convert it to Windows, changing from text to speech generator to playing wave files that Roberta has recorded; but in any event, I need that conversion. Sigh. If anyone can just dash off the code I'd be grateful. I don't really expect it, of course; I mostly wrote that above so that I'd have a good written description of what I have to do. Another time I'll do a plain language description of the program itself. It makes it a lot easier when you know precisely what you need to accomplish.
Now we are offto Madama Butterfly. I've seen Butterfly often enough that I thought of skipping it this year, but my friend Louis Lebhertz is doing the Bonze, and I've only seen him in that role once. And it is a new (to me) cast.
I am reminded in MAIL that we have not had much about the Y2K problem recently. There is a page on the subject here, but except for copying today's mail and my comment it hasn't had much added to it for a while. Perhaps it is time to think on the subject again? My view is that it's going to be annoying as the dickens and will proably cost between a score and several hundred lives, and a couple of billion dollars: but neither of those is disaster on the scale of, say, this winter, or a major hurricane or flood. But I could be wrong.
Butterfly was very good. Yoko Watanabe is the best Cio-Cio-San I have ever seen. Good production indeed and John Atkins was a great Sharpless. Not a dry eye in the house...
As to my CDROM problem, whack myself in the head...