THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
April 19 - 25, 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 - 7,000 words, depending. For more on what this place is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE.
|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.
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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:
April 19, 1999
Covert Communicators ... Handheld radar that lets firemen and police see through walls ... wireless links in the home connecting fixed and mobile "smart home" appliances such as laptops, stereos, security systems, and powered applications ...
All proposed applications of pulse radio, some of which have been prototyped.
Now, if I can only figure out how this might be applicable to medication dispensing...
- Barrie Slaymaker [firstname.lastname@example.org]
There was in a recent Federal Register a request for proposals for systems that could see through wall, and Tom Clancy has something of the sort in one of his latest novels. Science fiction in everyday life...
Then there's this:
This has to be of interest in this context:
Where will this all end?
And I don't know where it will all end...
Netscape is annoying me. If you tell it to look for pcexpo.com it says it can't find it. Type in pcexpo and it fills in to pcexpo.com and then can't find it. You must type in pcexpo, then by hand erase the .com, and then it finds it fine. This is very untestedly dumb. They must not have tried to use it themselves. I will have to get 4.51 and hope the AOL man won't be in it.
One way to kill the AOL man was shown in Emergency Mail, which was so named because a year ago I didn't know a lot about what I was doing with formatting. Mr. Rice reminds me that it's indexed in New order and elsewhere.
I can recommend the new ATI Rage Fury video boards, with 32 megs onboard memory. They are fast, they do a lot of the calculations on board, and they work well with Windows 98 Second Edition.
was devoured by locusts.
April 21, 1999
Spent the day at Niven's place getting his machines set up. American craftsmanship is not what it used to be. the keyboard drawer fell off in his NEW expensive study and I had to go to a hardware store and get some real screws and put it back together again. What kind of incompetents do we get who charge cabinet maker prices for shoddy work that won't even support a keyboard and mouse? Three little wallboard screws with maybe 1/4" penetration to hold up a large keyboard drawer. An imbecile could see that was a bad design. What do we have for craftsmanship anyway? Not that this was cheap, mind you. They are paying very good wages to these dolts.
But we got it on, and I spent 2 hours on line in AOL because I had promised I would be part of a discussion group. AOL chat software is about 4 years behind what Genie had when Genie was going, and that was years ago. You can type in ONE LINE at a time, NO MORE, never an edited paragraph. So explain Heinlein in one line. Quick. How anyone can stand that for long is a mystery. I am afraid I am not very good at one liners. nor have I learned much from people who are. Thoughts come in paragraphs and longer. Oh well.
The news is full of the goths in Littleton Colorado. The NRA is having its convention in Denver, and the mayor wants them to call it off. Feh. If the teachers had been armed there might have been a chance for some of them. But that's my odd way of thinking. Disarming the law abiding does little to protect us from those who are not.
April 22, 1999
For those who have asked about Sasha, our Husky, thanks: he's fine. Abcess on jaw of undetermined origin. Gets 2 big pills and hot compresses every day, and can't go up the hill for a few days; whenever he sees me with a hat he is at the door wondering why we aren't going out. It's hard to explain to him. But he is is good shape, and we're taking him for local walks here in the flat areas. Thanks to all for asking.
I wrote the following over on BIX in response to some specific discussions, but it seems to have some generality. Think of it as a rant, put out as part of a conversation;
The brutal fact is that most people in the US are
wage slaves in the sense
April 23, 1999
I apologize to anyone upset by my remarks on arming the teachers, but I don't apologize. In rural Tennessee in the Depression a good quarter of the 7th and 8th grade students carried shotguns to school, which we dutifully hung in the cloak room, actions open (mostly single barrel Sears .20 gauge, a couple of .410's and a few .12's; depended on the ammunition). Obviously everyone knew what one one those things would do; we were hoping to do it to something edible on the way home. The teachers were all women with cars and unlikely to have or need a shotgun in school but no one doubted that a farmer's wife knew how to use one. Now that's not a city and I suppose the people of Memphis would have been a bit startled to know what was happening not a score of miles from city center, but it wasn't all that unusual either.
Jefferson and Madison were agreed, there was no place to entrust the liberty of the people but to all of them collectively; no King, no Aristocracy, no Guardian Class of philosophers kings. Patrick Henry made it clear that this included military weapons in the hands of the ordinary citizens. That could be abused. Captain Shays demonstrated that. But after Shay's Rebellion and the Whisky Rebellions there was no call to disarm the citizens, either, because no one had a better answer than Jefferson's on where the ultimate sovereignty should rest.
The search for perfection in human affairs usually leads to Hell. Heaven and Hell are both rumored to be absolute monarchies; we, a little lower than the angels but higher than the beasts, have to muddle through on our own, and it will always be a bit messy. Better messy freedom than perfect and orderly obedience to masters; but then I grew up in a time both more and less orderly, with Machine Gun Kelly captured in a house we later bought...
Byte.com is launching a newsletter to keep readers informed about whats going on at the site. Each Monday, as new material is added to Byte.com, a short newsletter will be sent out with headlines and blurbs for each story. There will be special emphasis on Chaos Manor, and an occasional excerpt from that column (and others) in the newsletter. If Jerry has a special time-urgent message to send, it would appear in this newsletter as well.
CMP will start mailing the newsletter when they have 10,000 readers signed up. The signup form is at:
Note that I do not have advertising here: I've turned down a number of offers, in fact. That's what the subscriptions insure. The costs of this place are pretty well met by subscriptions, and I have no need to do advertisiments. BYTE of course does. See www.BYTE.com weekly, where my major column is, and find out about the newsletter...
April 24, 1999
Installed the new Rage Fury ATI video board in my P II; previously put one in Niven's games machine. This is one good board, but installaton is tricky: you need to reset a couple of times after you install everything, or at least I have had to on both machines. Provided you do that all is well.
MAX 2 kept blowing up my 28 Meg Pentium but upping that to 256 and adding the 32 megs on board the video card AT Rage Fury fixed that; hasn't crashed in hours, so I presume it won't. Some of those games are pretty ambitious in their hardware requirements.
April 25, 1999
I'd intended to spend the weekend in Phoenix with henry Vanderbilt and his Space Access Society meeting, but Roberta needed my help with her LA Opera thing. So I was a beast of burden rather than a rocket scientist. Next year I will get to Space Access. If you're interested it's email@example.com and about the best space conference of the year, amateur or professional. I should have mentioned it before. But if you want to help the space program, get in touch with Henry, and think about sending him a few bucks. We need him.
Came home to try to finish a game of Max2. Don't bother. It gets VERY boring in the endgame with this thing. The computer can build static defenses that are better than anything you can attack with, while it takes FOREVER to build enough units to overwhelm in a mass attack. It is VERY boring. Pity because it might have been another Total Annihilation, but in fact it wasn't, because they didn't give you any kind of long range mobile system airborne or otherwise; a combination of a rocket tower, a radar, and a anti-aircraft gun can hold of an army for a LONG time. Boring.
Max2 was interesting as a test, since it can overwhelm a Pentium II with 128 megs memory and a Number Nine 16 meg AGP board; it became playable with an ATI Rage Fury 32 meg and 256 megs main memory under Windows 98. That's a lot of machine to play a boring game with, but less than that and it crashed at random but frequent intervals.