jp.jpg (13389 bytes)

THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR

June 28 - Jul4 4, 1999

read book now

HOME

VIEW

MAIL

Columns

BOOK Reviews

 

emailblimp.gif (23130 bytes)

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.

Day-by-day...
Monday -- Tuesday -- Wednesday -- Thursday -- Friday -- Saturday -- Sunday

 Previous Weeks of The View 1  2  7   8  9 10  11  12  13  14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54

Currentview

 

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.

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:

atom.gif (1053 bytes) 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.

For the BYTE story, click here.

The LINUX pages are organized as the log, my queries, and your responses and advice parts one, twothree, 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: (Apologies: indexing wasn't done much.)

 

 

 

line6.gif (917 bytes)

This week:

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

TOP

Monday, June 28, 1999

This is the beginning of the restructuring. You won't see much at first. Except maybe broken links. But stay tuned....

This is front page 2000 on Windows 2000. Visual Page inserted a bunch of stuff I need to get rid of, and there are probably lots of broken links. So it goes.

Took a hike with Niven, so late posting this. Later. 

TOP

 

This week:

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

TOP

Tuesday, June 29, 1999

More changes. Today I spent the day installing Windows 2000 and Front Page 2000 and experimenting. Some of the experiments are bizarre. Front Page 2000 doesn't seem quite ready for prime time: many of the features are inexplicable and undocumented (or at least obscurely documented). For example, the icons for various pages change when you do things to them, but there is no legend to explain it. Some of the pages have icons that look like text (not Word) file pages; others have the FP Arrow logo; an FP arrow logo and a pen appear when the files are open, but sometimes when you alter a file and save it and close it, the icon changes from the plain text to the FP arrow, and sometimes it changes from FP arrow with pen to plain text icon. If there is any explanation of this, it isn't indexed or discoverable by rational search by me, Eric, and Roland Dobbins, with some comments from Alex, and one might think that among this crew we'd find it if it were there.

There's a lot like that in Front Page 2000. It's nowhere near as intuitive as FP 98.

I'm still working on it all, but that's the situation. We really don't know what the thing is doing half the time, and that goes for all of us; this is a 10 meg web site with 1 meg of graphics -- note that we know this because it has a neat report feature that tells us -- and 500 pages -- and it still does odd things that we don't understand. I am going to talk to Microsoft about it tomorrow. 

I am also going to get Dreamweaver 2.0 up and see what that does to handle this site. It may take care of it nicely.

And it's late, and I am about to give up for the night.

 

 

TOP

 

This week:

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

TOP

Wednesday, June 30, 1999

Thanks for the mail on bad links. There were nowhere near as many as I feared there would be. Once I get the purely mechanical details done I will be able to work on getting out some content including new information.

I would guess there are far more bad links than have been reported, so keep telling me, and thanks. Last night was another all night session, with I think great results. For the first time Chaos Manor has a reasonably rational internal network scheme running TCP/IP with a name server and everything. Princess is running Windows 2000 Professional Beta 3. Note that this is "workstation" and beta 3; Roland says he does not trust Windows 2000 Server, and Beta 3 is more stable than the supposedly later "release candidate" which he avoids. 

We have some very odd Front Page 2000 behavior, but since the Help files are sparse and there is no manual while the Que Special Edition USING OFFICE 2000 despite it's enormous size has only cursory information on 2000, we don't know what Front Page 2000 is SUPPOSED to do. There are a bunch of little icons that change without any legend or explanation. Import and publish cannot possibly be working properly (no sane person would want them to work as they do). On the other hand, FP 2000 is keeping track of the links rather well, so we will see. I sure could use a Front Page 2000 guru as familiar with  FP 2000 as Roland is with NT.

Having cught up with stuff here, I need to catch up on fiction. I also need to get to the bank. At least things are going quite well here now. Chaos Manor is I think more stable than it has been in years. And the column will tell you all about the Black Icons of Death in NT 4, and how to cure them.

More later. DO keep telling me about broken links. Being specific as to what page the link is on, and where it points, and if you know it where it ought to point, is of great help.

===

Well, I am about to give up. I cannot make Front Page 2000 publish. Since every file it sees was itself imported off the web, why it keeps trying to tell me that certain folders are "not a web page" and giving a server error, then the choice of watching nothing until Doomsday or clicking "OK" and watching it die, is not clear to me. This is an exercise in masochism. There are icons that change and no explanation. A manual for this mess would help. There isn't one. 

===

Microsoft has responded to my distress call. The guru began downloading my web site and got some of the same errors I got. "Never saw this before" he said, and went off to find more powerful people including the product managers. At least they're trying. "You probably won't get this level of technical support." On the other hand once I understand things so will you. My own view is that Front Page is really cool, with the minor problem that it doesn't work. If we can just over come that small problem so that it publishes properly we're in business.

Nothing on my site wasn't imported from the outside web site. But I can't publish to the outside Web Site. Interesting, no?

I have up Dreamweaver, but I haven't made much of it. I need to use the mapping function and see what that does for me.

Well, I have found out one thing. If there is an illegal file name OUT ON THE WEB, you cannot with ftp PUBLISH TO THE WEB from your Front Page site. FP Extensions lets you create and send file names with spaces in them. FTP can't handle that. And, and, it wants to take care of EVERYTHING, so it wants to know about what's out on the web as well as what's on your disk. Fascinating. Maybe I have solved the problem. Maybe.

 

 

 

 

TOP

 

 

 

This week:

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

read book now

TOP

Thursday, July 1, 1999

Apologies: I have not been doing the indexing of this or of mail very well if at all. I'll be back to that shortly. Thanks to two all night sessions with Roland Dobbins, who knows NT (and Novell for that matter) better than anyone else I have ever met, we have this place pretty well under control, and organized networkwise better than it ever has been. I've put more memory in the old Spirit server, and I'll be putting a lot more in Fireball, a dual Pentium Pro with the one-megabit cache which now serves as the primary server at Chaos Manor. We are catching up.

I can report that Windows 2000 knows how to so bollix up an Ethernet card that the system and card think they are dead: I was fooling around with OUTLOOK, setting up a new account, and whatever I did -- I still do not know -- I blew things up enormously. The Ethernet card in Princess, the dual processor Compaq Workstation, stopped working. I mean STOPPED. No lights flashing except that on power up there was a tiny flicker of the yellow light. No green. What happened next and how I fixed it will be part of the column I'm doing now, so I won't repeat it here; it's worth watching for. The short answer on fixing it is check the cable -- Pournelle's law says that 90% of all communications problems are a cable -- and if the cable is all right, use device manager (Windows 2000 has one) to remove the device and then let the wizard reinstall. That worked without reboot: then log off and back on and whamo! So while Windows 2000 has the seeds of its own destruction it also has weed killer...

Now to try publishing this. I think I found one of the problems with publishing, and I have just used ftp (external to Front Page) to download an image copy of my site. I'm going to try publishing from here, and if that doesn't work properly, I am going to nuke the site and publish again. That ought to do it.

Please continue to report broken links. Please tell me the exact page where the link is, what the link points to, and if you know, what it should point to. I know that's a lot to ask for and I very much appreciate the help. I won't always be able to answer each individual report, although I do try. Thanks to those who have been reporting them.

It looks like it will be a good day. Indeed, It's going to be a good day, because I am going to work on fiction and maps for BURNING CITY no matter what happens to the computers.

===

Darnell has deleted the last illegally named folder out on the site. Old FP 98 was able to survive the existence of a folder named Peter G; Front page 2000 can't live with that, and blows up and dies, offering no remedies whatever; not good. Maybe this time...

===

Front Page 2000 is finally publishing my site. It is taking it forever, but thatís because it is the first time. How long it will take and how many documents it needs to send I do not know, because while the program knows how many folders it needs to delete and add and pages it must revise, it does not tell me.

Eventually it does show a fuel gauge, but since it doesnít explain what that is Ė current document, current sub-task, what? Ė it doesnít help a lot. On the other hand, it does appear to be working.

I expect there will be broken links all over the place now. I will use FP to fix as many as possible and republish, so hold off a bit on detailed messages: give me a few hours to let things clean themselves up. It does appear that after all this work, I may have a system that works better than I had. I can dream, canít I?

In any event, it is doing things.

 And in fact it worked. I  can publish to this site. 

Eric has a neat report on installing BEOS. We saw BEOS at PCEXPO and were somewhat impressed with it as an environment although there are not many applications.

 

 

 

 

TOP

 

 

 

This week:

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

TOP

Friday, July 2, 1999

I'll be speaking at the Mensa convention this evening down in Long Beach. As to broken links, there are said to be thousands according to Front Page, many fairly difficult to fix. I'll try recalculating some later. I fixed a couple of hundred last night. If you find broken links please tell me the page it was on, where the bad link points to, its label or trigger or anchor, and if you know it, where it's supposed to point. I'll think of some suitable prize for the best links hunter.

Got to take Roberta to get her car serviced. 

Making Order of Chaos: the index, is reported as unlinked by Front Page. Here's a link to it while I look for what happened.

Fooling around with links I rediscovered Topical Blatherings. This was largely replaced by VIEW, but I wonder now if the focus on topics wasn't stronger. Not sure how to organize things to get that result, though.

I'm off to make a speech, I have fixed hundreds of broken links, but those that refer to my local C drive aren't seen by Front Page as broken. I'll have to do something about THAT, too, tomorrow.

Atter Tag, Atter Tag.  Thanks. I'll be back tomorrow.

 

 

TOP

 

 

This week:

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

TOP

Saturday, July 3, 1999

I have fixed the background for this page, which was weird. I'm now rebuilding this web in another directory with the view to getting everything working. THEN I'll publish THAT and things ought to be in good shape.

Obviously I am back from Long Beach where I spoke to the annual meeting of the American Mensa Association, and went to their dinner party. Good audience. Roberta and I went for a long walk on the beach this morning. Long Beach is pretty, but there are few birds and I saw no fish at all, either in the lagoon by the hotel or out in the harbor. I remember years ago that the San Pedro harbor was so polluted that boats didn't need much in the way of bottom protection. Shipworms couldn't live in that water. It was supposedly cleaned up, but perhaps over at Long Beach the oil seepage (natural) is enough to keep the minnow population down. There sure were fewer birds right down at the beach than we see out our window on Bay Shore Walk at the San Diego beach house I retreat to. No ducks at all, no sandpipers, no egrets or herons, and only a very few gulls. I think there's something wrong with the water.  And the Paradise Lagoon by the hotel is big but it looked absolutely dead.

Anyway, I'm home, we threw away two big garbage cans full of stuff some dating back 15 years ("But Roberta, there'll never be another of those," I plead. "Good," she says, stuffing it into the trash bag she then drops from the balcony down into the homeless shelter sized garbage can. "Cowabunga!"

So we did that for a couple of hours. Now to clean up this place.

One of the more infuriating "improvements" of FP 2000 is that the automatic date/time stamps no longer work. I suppose they work with the stupid extensions, but they don't work locally. That is irritating as all getout; it means I have to manually insert the date every darned time I want to change it. In 98 it updated the date when I put the file into the FRONT PAGE EDITOR.

My advice: if you are using FP 98, DO NOT "UPGRADE". You're better off than I am. If you use the extensions, be prepared for some problems unless you have control of your web server, otherwise it will time out on you if you don't have superfast connections to the server from where you do the editing. Not using the extensions in FP 98 meant that the search engine didn't work, but there are third party search engines so it hardly matters. {Not using the extensions in FP 2000 means the time/date bot won't work, and probably a bunch of other stuff.} I have yet to see any "improvement" in 2000 that I wanted, while there are a lot of things that used to work in 98 that don't any more. If you like Front Page you'll probably like 98 a lot more than I like FP 2000.

Regarding links, I am about to change the whole structure here to make it a lot easier to fix them. I'm experimenting with what I have first here, but in a day or so the whole thing ought to be fixed. We hope.

This turns out not to be the case. I must have installed the time/date stamps wrong. They seem to be working all right now.

 

TOP

 

 

This week:

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

read book now

TOP

Sunday, July 4, 1999 Happy Birthday America

Advice needed. Most of my links problem seem to have to do with the base at which relative links are aimed. The HTML Manuals tell me there is a "BASE" tag or statement or element, of the form BASE HREF= giving an absolute URL which presumably would be www.jerrypournelle.com for this site. The problem with that of course is that when I am working locally on the site, the links aren't going to be seen without going out on the web, thus obviating the advantages of working off line.

The books do not say but I infer that the BASE element needs to be inserted on EVERY PAGE that needs to know about it; it's not a web-wide statement that can be included one place and not others. That would solve some of my problems, since on rarely changed pages it wouldn't matter where the top layer pointed, and I could specify that BASE where things have gone wrong with the relative stuff. It would be a fair amount of work, but it could be done.

Better would be a simple tag that would identify the "top level" here. That is, if something refers to a C://etc/etc/etc/images/img.jpg, I can substitute ../ for the C:/etc/etc/etc/ stuff and it works IF AND ONLY IF the page referring to that is only one folder level down. If it is, say, mail/currentmail that's fine, but if it's reports/jerryp/y2k.html then it needs to be ../../ and that takes judgment and work. Better would be if I could just point to the "top level" on which index.html resides; but if there's a way to DO that I do not know it.

There's probably a simple way to handle this, and I don't know what it is. Help?

I have got to stop fooling with this stuff, but it's taking a while. More later.

==

More disasters. I am learning a lot about networking and the more I learn the more I wish I had the old Workgroup peer to peer net working. All this administered stuff from servers sounds great in theory, and once set up properly I am sure is wonderful, but for the moment it means I can't print and much of the time I can't get at assets I need because I am logged in as the wrong person. I am sure it can all be configured properly. I am also sure that the advantages are small compared to my old everybody can do anything workgroups.

OUTLOOK 2000 has a terrible "feature". If you are not already logged on to the net when you open the "improved" Outlook, then it doesn't connect to the net. It just sits there. I wanted to send an urgent message. I logged off as administrator (who doesn't seem to be able to use Outlook properly) and on as jerryp on this NT workstation. Of course that dumped the net connection through the modem. As I came on as jerryp I punched the dialup connection button to cause the modem to go log me onto the internet. Then I opened Outlook and started to compose a message. As I was doing that I got logged on. When my message was finished I punched SEND. Usually it sends pretty instantly. It didn't. I punched the send/receive button on Outlook 2000. It accepted that but DID NOTHING. I kept hitting send/receive and nothing happened.

Perhaps if I had waiting long enough it would have realized it wasn't connected to the net and had a look to see if it could get that way, but I was finally impatient and closed Outlook. With the net connection still established. When I opened Outlook again it found the net connection and sent my message. 

Office 2000 Professional ought to be named "Office Surprise, with workarounds."

Another "feature" of Front Page 2000 is that it doesn't preserve fonts from Word to Front Page. Then to make it worse, although it's supposed to be better integrated with WORD, the f8 key does not turn on "select", so you must use mouse scrolling to select, which requires dexterity I don't have; I often get too far over and hit a margin or the bottom of a table, and it selects everything and you have to start over. Thanks a whole bunch, Microsoft. 

Office 2000 Surprise isn't ready for MY prime time. Maybe someone else's.

===

I often do the Techweb broadcast summary. If you want to hear me on net radio, here's how:

Jerry, I know you asked me to let you know the specific URL for The Week in Review, and I didnít forget your request.

The situation is this: at present, I do only the multimedia G2 version for TechWeb Today. It is posted at 4pm Friday and stays up until 4pm Monday. At present, we donít archive it, although, because of you request we are considering doing so.

During those 72 hours each week, the week in review always has the same URL:

http://media.cmpnet.com/twtoday/technology.ram

This bypasses the table of contents page and directly launches our program.

 

Paul E. Schindler Jr., Executive Editor

CMP Media / Byte.com

====

Well, Thompson tells me that I can just eliminate the file//c:/etc/etc stuff and Front Page will look for the address from the top of the tree. We will see. It can't be worse than it is, so we'll definitely try it. If that works some of the page links ought to be fixed on this publication. If not, well, they aren't. [I think they are not; I don't believe this works. I think I need the ../../ stuff to tell things where to look. More as I know more.]

HELP WANTED: Front Page does global replace only page at a time: it will find all instances of a string, but it wants to open each page that string is on, deal with that, close it, and open the next. With 100 pages to work on this is tedious. I know I have had editors that would take batch files: open all the files in this directory, find this string, replace it with this, continue to the end, close the file, go to the next. I don't seem to have one any longer. Can someone recommend one? I know they worked in DOS, so there ought to be one for Windows?

 

Dobbins tells me there's an interaction between Windows 2000 and the HP 4000 drivers that may be at the bottom of my printing problems. Sigh. "I do all these silly things so you won't have to..."

Late. Very late.

I have fixed about 1543 broken internal links plus a bunch of links that it said were external although they referred to my C: drive. There are probably more. When Mr. Rice does the newest Viewdex, New Order, and Maildex some of the bad links will go away. Others we may have with us for some time. Still in all, the major ones are fixed.

Thompson and I disagree on Front Page 2000. He likes it better than FP 98. So far I do not. On the other hand, many of the problems with 2000 would probably vanish IF THERE WERE A FLIPPING MANUAL! Are You Listening, Microsoft? IT NEEDS A MANUAL. The reviewers guide is better than the manual, and it's not all that good, and it's not available to readers to begin with. FRONT PAGE 2000 needs a MANUAL, better index on the HELP files, and a general attention to funny details like there should be a "no to all" button as well as a "yes to all".  It needs to tell you what it is doing. It knows how many files it is going to upload, and FP 98 told you: uploading file 4 of 15, that sort of thing. Not 2000.

I could go on and on. The bottom line to me is that I miss FP 98. That may change. I may decide I love it. But so far I sure don't, and if you are reasonably happy with FP 98 I sure don't recommend that you change to FP 2000.

Anyway, I've been grinding along. It's column time now.

Roberta wants me to tell subscribers: If you sent in DISCOVER card, we don't have any way to collect on that. Sorry. She was a bit late processing June orders.

I now have to get the last maps done for BURNING CITY; get the column out; finish HIGH TECH WARS; work with Niven on the outline and presentation for the sequel to BURNING CITY; finish Mamelukes the next volume in the Janissaries series; and probably about five other things. It's a great life if you don't weaken....

 

 

 

 

  TOP