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Mail 151: April 30 - May 6, 2001

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Monday  April 30, 2001

Mr. Pournelle:

I suppose others have informed you that the United States certainly still builds submarines. What we do not build for ourselves are are diesel powered submarines. The U.S. has a license to build German Type-209 submarines for export in Passagula, MS. It is this license that is at issue in the Taiwan matter.

The last U.S diesel boat was the USS Blueback (SS-581), launched in 1959. She also happened to be the last diesel boat decommissioned in 1990. Currently there are four nuclear powered submarines under construction:

Virginia (SSN 774) Texas (SSN 775) Hawaii (SSN 776) Jimmy Carter (SSN 23)

The first three are of the Virginia class. The Jimmy Carter is the the last of three Seawolf class boats.


Yes I knew we still made nuclear submarines, but the other details I guess I had forgotten. Thanks

Jerry, you write:

<<First, you must ask yourself what the increased speed is for. If you never see any differences in what you are doing, then speed isn't much of a criterion. Back when I studied philosophy of science we had a saying: "a difference to be a difference must make a difference sometimes." Sometimes speed counts, sometimes it doesn't.>>

Exactly. I'm trundling along with a PII, 64 MB machine at home, but I use a reasonably quick 128MB PIII for CAD use at the office. Since I like overkill, I'm toying with the idea of a dual PIII 733 with gobs of RAM. Dual Matrox-powered monitors, of course.

And maybe Total Annihilation on the side, across two screens.

Paul Piping Design Central

Indeed. Thanks.

SUBJECT: using character map....


It would have been nice if the character was still available on computer keyboards but ALT-0162 does the trick nicely. Although I must confess that I never remember that and have to use the "character map" app to find it. Just to complicate matters, some of the public access terminals (libraries, job search centers) have removed that app, so it's fiddle until I get it right, time. Time for an entry in my trusty Palm Pilot.

Cheers, Ray Whidden Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Indeed. Thanks for the reminder.

And Paul Walker tells us

*snicker* I think these guys were having a bad day. 

- Paul

I expect so...




This week:



Tuesday,  May 1, 2001

I suppose I should open with the opposition, this being May Day.

Excuse me for being blunt, but this article is pretty blatently bais. The only reason for your classifying Intel as better is because it shows you don't know jack squat about AMD. You compare the lowest priced Intel parts you can find with some certain "Fry sale"...if your going to compare prices, do it at a fair level. You make the point of most users don't need the added performance, but who would be stupid enough to get a slower computer for the same price? That's like suicide in the computer business, and 6 months down the road all that'll happen is you'll have to completely upgrade your computer sooner. Why wait 2 more seconds watching Word load up when you don't have to? Most businesses that are computer centered don't just type things up on word, many use high performance programs such as Autocad, and those need everything you can throw at them. Do you really want to say "i picked the more expensive and slower one because I like the name." ??

Taylor (Wraith) []

Well, if speed is the only consideration you have one conclusion. As to what I know and don't know, it may be that I have reached a different conclusion; why assume ignorance? Are you certain that I don't know some smart people, and I get their inputs before I publish? But have your own way. Ah well.

After reading your article regarding AMD I have come to the conclusion that you are a freaking idiot.

Benjamin Knigge Software Developer Zentropy Partners ph.: 323.993.9800 ext.12354

I thank you for your considered and reasoned opinion.

And under the subject :"Nice writeup of WinHEC":


For your information when two Windows XP machines are connected via 1394 they can share resources as per normal networking, except at 400Mbits/sec and limited to 4 metres cable.

I found this out by accident when testing XP with my companies 1394 products. Yes it is documented in XP notes when you finally read the manual.


Ian Middleton

For which I thank you. I haven't had a manual to read (I suppose it's on one of the CD's).  XP will be part of the next column. I do in fact like it and I like the fact that Microsoft has been taking bug reports quite seriously; I have seen two fixed already.

As to AMD vs. Intel, I think I have exhausted that subject. For the record I am very glad AMD has forced Intel into lower prices; I have an AMD Athlon system that works well although it does sometimes freeze at Everquest (but then so does the 1 GHz Pentium III system; since I can't have both doing the same thing as the same time on Everquest it's a bit hard to see which is responding to what, and most cases are probably line connection problems unrelated to the system; but when the freeze it's to hardware reset). Otherwise my only complaint on the Athlon is the lack of legacy drivers for the on-board sound card, and I may simply put in an Ensonic sound card and disable the on-board.

I am looking forward to putting Windows XP on both the Athlon and the 1 GHz Pentium. I'm getting fond of XP despite my initial misgivings.

Now for a long letter that I got before we went to Paris. It is technical and interesting:

From: Scott Advani ( ) Subj: Latest Win2K gotcha


I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but I suspect this is the kind of problem other people are encountering, and this is a solution that worked well for me. Another tool for the toolbelt.

I have had a problem since the first day I got my brand new Dell system. It came with a Creative Soundblaster Live! Value card and Win2K preinstalled. This was back in April of 2000, pre-SP1, and so I figured I was being pretty brave - what with Win2K being the biggest, most-lines-of-code release of an OS, ever.

The problem is this: one of the Creative Software device drivers was not exiting properly . Windows would complain about "devldr.exe" not shutting down, with a 20-second countdown. Sleuthing determined that "devldr32.exe" is the name of the actual file. Why it comes up as devldr.exe is a mystery to me. Checking the file properties determined that it is the "Creative Ring3 NT Inteface (sic)". I know that if I see that message, I must reboot, because if I don't, when I log in my computer crashes (BSOD).

I used to think my computer was just resetting itself, even bypasing the BSOD. I know better, now. The default behavior of Win2K is to immediately reboot. If you're experiencing weird shutdown or random restart problems, then go to "System Properties | Startup and Recovery" and uncheck the "Automatically reboot" check box to get a chance to see if you are in fact getting a BSOD.

I noticed there was a new driver on the Creative site, and we all know that new drivers tend to fix a wide variety of evils. It seemed to install correctly, and even installed an irritating little "auto-hide" task bar at the top of the screen. But, my computer continued to exhibit this strange behavior from time to time. More research: the file date on devldr32.exe was in 1998. That definitely pre-dates Win2K. More research turned up that the file date of the devldr32.exe in the latest driver package was from 11/19/1999. That sounds pretty close to the time that MS went gold with Win2K. But, no matter how often I ran the driver install program, it would not install this new version.

I called Creative Tech support, and they were unable to help solve the problem. I called Dell, and they tried replacing the card (sent a tech to do it, too... I *like* working with Dell) after getting me to jump through a few "just to be sure" testing hoops. Neither of these things worked, and short of going to a *different* sound card, I was out of options.

The thing that *really* bugged me was I kept feeling that if only I could get the new driver to install, then perhaps it would work correctly.

I can remember reading somewhere about Windows Protection (and I've seen it at work - don't do this on a system that has anything important to you, but try going into the Winnt/system32 directory and delete a file or two. They miraculously reappear at the bottom of the directory. Pretty cool!) Except this time, I was becoming suspicious that Windows Protection was fighting installing this new driver.

So, I ran the install again, and waited for it to start asking me questions. Then I opened up Explorer and browsed to the temp directory (shortcut - type %temp% in the Address of an Explorer to take you to the directory that environment variable is set to). I located the directory the driver install had created and copied it to another spot on my hard drive. I then cancelled the install. Next, I started the device manager, browsed to the "Sound, video and game controller" and "Creative SB Live! Value" device. Right-clik on the entry, pull up the properties, then the driver tab. I selected "update driver" then browsed to where I had my copy of the new driver.

Success! This time, the driver got updated. My system has only complained about the driver not exiting once since I did this procedure.

My guess is this: Windows Protection does just what it's supposed to: protect Windows from from accidental corruption of important .dlls. The problem is, exactly how is Windows supposed to know the difference between a legitimate upgrade and a error or malicious attempt to overwrite things? The Creative package was using a Vise installer, and perhaps one that doesn't really understand Win2K's protection model. Windows didn't recognize that someone was attempting to update the drivers so it protected them.

However, by using the built-in device driver update routines, that explained to Windows as clearly as possible that I really did want to update the drivers.

I apologize again for the length of this post. However, I've worked almost a year on solving this particular burr under my saddle. I've sure learned a lot about how Windows works through this, and I thought I'd share that experience with the rest of you.

-= Scott =- [Scott Advani]

Thank you for a clear and lucid account of what happened and what you did. 







This week:



Wednesday, May 2, 2001


James P. Pinkerton, in "Space Power Can Influence Our History" at 

makes almost exclusively good points.

But his train of thought runs straight off the rails, when he recommends reviving the X-33 fiasco.

X-33 was part of the NASA answer to a threat, from the DC-X project of the Strategic Defense Initiative Office, which started to demonstrate fully reusable rocket technology. (The current Space Shuttle is reusable in name, but nowhere near as much in fact. Imagine what an airline ticket would cost, if they had to rebuild every engine of every airliner after every flight!)

The Clinton administration tried very hard to kill DC-X by budgetary starvation, but did not quite succeed. NASA then took over the project, rebuilt the one-and-only test vehicle into the DC-XA, and crashed it. So much for DC-X.

That was the first stage of the answer.

X-33 was the second stage. Putatively a follow-on to DC-X, it was from the beginning a typical, hyper-bureaucratized, paper-study-everything-to-death, subcontractor-in-every-Congressional-district, fly-nothing NASA boondoggle. For details, see 

Now X-33 is dead, and we are well rid of it.

What we need instead is a _real_ X-project -- a technology _demonstrator_, that shows what we can do with what we have, and that lets us test incremental improvements. Not a prototype for anything. Not a vehicle for funding every advanced technology fantasy in NASA. Not an excuse to continue funding the NASA standing army.

Or, rather: we need a _bunch_ of real X-projects, funded through the military services. Maybe even one through NASA, if you insist. Projects that _compete_ with each other. Projects with the incentives set up to reward _success_, not to subsidize spectacular and expensive failure.

For more on what real X-projects used to be like, and could be like again, see 

Indeed. Thank you. I trust a lot of people will read that.

Dr. Jerry, It's May Day without the Soviet parade, but the Russki's have trumped the "decadent West" once again. They're the first to take a paying passenger into space, leaving NASA looking like a soviet relic. The shuttle had to land at Edwards today, to lame accolades of a "wonderfully successful mission". I hope it's sunny in Florida tomorrow just to rub in the fact that they spent an extra million bucks to land in California. UPS can deliver packages, too, but we don't congratulate them. I think the Russians accomplished more, and scored a PR coup. There, end of rant.

Stephen Borchert

Precisely. I have known Dennis Tito for about 10 years. I've never seen him grin quite so wide...

NASA hates this of course. But NASA hates competition, and with darned good reason. NASA is the best argument against protective tariff I know of.  But see below...

And now a Red Alert from Roland, who says this is the most serious hole yet:

If you're running a Web site on IIS 5.0 &; Win2K with Internet Printing ISAPI enabled, which is the default.

Also, most people idiotically run IIS as a user with Administrator-type rights, because they're too lazy to set ACLs. 

 Roland Dobbins 

The  following puts the case a bit stronger than I do, but it does put the case:

Hi Jerry,

Here's a column by Michael Kelly that very nicely spells out the argument you've been making for some time: even if otherwise a good thing, unrestricted free trade kills jobs in the U.S.

Just take a look at the last three paragraphs (excerpted below) to get the flavor of his discussion. The full column can be found here: 


Carroll Bloyd

"In short, what the unionists know is that globalization ultimately depends on driving manufacturing jobs out of the country where they live. This may result in what Friedman calls ``real jobs for real people'' in Africa, but it also results in the loss of real jobs for real people in, say, Akron, Ohio. More than that: it results in real costs to the nation as a whole; and these costs are massive. When, as has happened all across the country, a factory shut its doors and shatters a town, turning what had been a productive community into a ward of the state, what does that cost America? Over time, many, many millions, a price that globalists ignore.

Finally, globalization results in a loss of a way of life, what was quaintly known as the American way of life. You know: get out of high school, go down to the factory, get a job, buy a car, get married, buy a house, buy a boat for the lake, send the kids to college, retire on a decent pension.

In the long run, global free trade may be, as its boosters say, to the greater good of all. But in the short and even medium run, in any developed country, it is to the greater pain of many for the greater gain of a few. Those who do not understand this may be well intentioned but the people who live in globalism's growing number of ghost towns must consider them shockingly ill informed."

Much the same was said in The Trap as I pointed out years ago. My concern is with stability in transition. If the US wants to be charitable, let it be so; but exporting our manufacturing capabilities may not be the best way to do that.

I have yet to see an economic analysis that looks at free trade with ALL THE EXTERNALITIES: welfare costs; social security costs; law enforcement, crime and prison costs; unemployment compensation costs; health care for unemployed; and the rest. Perhaps the pure economic analysis will show that even in the face of all those required costs free trade is a good economic deal and we then have a decision to make; but I am not dead sure it is quite that good a deal to have cheaper underwear but lose the ability to make underwear, and dislocate a number of workers who thought they were middle class but find they are wage slaves after all. Sure they find new jobs. Perhaps as good. Perhaps not.

And perhaps I am unduly pessimistic.  But I have always thought that a mild protective tariff was a good idea. Not a large one. An edge to domestic workers. What should it be?  My guess is around 10%, but I'd be willing to adjust. The revenue wouldn't be trivial either.

>From currentmail.html:

> The last U.S diesel boat was the USS Blueback (SS-581), launched in > 1959. She also happened to be the last diesel boat decommissioned > in 1990.

The Blueback has been recommissioned and is the flagship of the Oregon Navy. Based in Portland on the Willammette River, the Blueback is best known for its Halloween 'Haunted Submarine' tours. See 








This week:


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Thursday, May 3, 2001

This day was devoured by locusts. Namely my head is stuffed up and I played Everquest. That took more intellectual energy than I can summon.












This week:



Friday, May 4, 2001

First, Roland sends me a lot of recommendations on places to look. Here are a few I think everyone ought to see:

From Roland under the heading "Microsoft's Komsomol" 

Once you have read that, think about it. Ye gods.

Next, also from Roland 

and when you have read that, go see: 

I know this is a lot of work, and it's not strictly mail, but these themes are important and related. Then there is more on Mundle's speech 

It all adds up to something I would  comment on if my head were working better (I see it still works well enough to use subjunctive mood so all is not lost, but I am not thinking clearly this morning).

I expect this will all become a discussion page, depending on how many comments I get that add to the discussion. (I often get a lot of mail on a subject but most of it says the same thing in different ways.)

On  that, from Bob Thompson:

You might also want to add to the list Eric S. Raymond's "presponse" to Craig Mundie's comments. You can read it at 

-- Robert Bruce Thompson

And there is more on this below.

While we're on that, also  from Bob Thompson:

You've often commented on the Internet as a font of knowledge, so I thought you might be interested to read my contrarian take on that issue. It's on my page for today 

I've also commented yet again on why I prefer Windows NT 4 to Windows 2000.

-- Robert Bruce Thompson

Once again I'll comment when I feel better. 

Now for something completely different:

A curious coincidence........

"The Army and the other military services also plan to eventually replace the 9 mm pistol round, the 7.62 machine gun round and the .50-caliber round with lead-free versions."

"Several military installations are opening small-arms ranges, he added, and some of these installations eagerly await the release of the green bullets within the next year or so, to avoid firing lead-based rounds on their new ranges. "

-----------Army Produces Green Bullets

"The U.S. Army is running out of bullets. A memo sent this week by Fort Hood, Texas, the Army installation with the largest population, says soldiers are suffering a worldwide shortage of 9 mm ammunition."

------------Washington Times, 7-Feb-2001


Indeed. Indeed.

Calvin Coolidge Says January 5, 1931

"The government has never shown much aptitude for real business. The Congress will not permit it to be conducted by a competent executive, but constantly intervenes. The most free, progressive and satisfactory method ever devised for the equitable distribution of property is to permit the people to care for themselves by conducting their own business. They have more wisdom than any government."

I particularly like the last sentence.

Here's the web link 



Silent Cal wasn't all that dumb, was he? If there is a "surplus" Congress will spend it. Whether they'd spend it better than I would if it were left to me is another story.

And Francis says:

At least socks are still made in America.


You wrote: >but I am not dead sure it is quite that good a deal to have cheaper underwear but >lose the ability to make underwear, and dislocate a number of workers who thought >they were middle class but find they are wage slaves after all

May 3, The Wall Street Journal: The U.S. imports almost all its television sets, about two-thirds of its apparel and about one-quarter of its cars. But roughly 90% of its socks are still made in America.

Which we may suppose is a comfort...


You posted in mail:

"> The last U.S diesel boat was the USS Blueback (SS-581), launched in > 1959. She also happened to be the last diesel boat decommissioned > in 1990."

We called these boats the "B-Girls" since all of them started with B(Barbel, Bluefish, Bonefish). They had some notoriety from over-lapping with the nukes, and they and the nukes to come shared the Albacore hull design. They were much quieter than a nuke, until they had to charge batteries.


Jim Dodd
 submarines &; destroyers driven for food
 DBF = diesel boats forever!

B-girls. Well, why not... August Dvorak, inventor of the Dvorak keyboard and one of my professors (Sociology, but not of the usual variety) when I was at the University of Washington commanded a Gato sub in WW II. Got into the Bungo Strait at one point.

Hi, Jerry - this is a renewal, from the same email address you've been sending me things at already.

Q: Some people are concerned with [LARGE ISSUE W] after [INCIDENT X]. What do you have to say about this criticism? 

A: [INCIDENT X] was unfortunate, but we quickly came up with [QUICK FIX Y] and since then there have been no further issues. We'll be doing great things in the future, as evidenced by [DISTRACTING SHINY THING Z]. - from;cid=583 

Dan Becker


You'll probably see too much response to Mr. Mundie's comments on free software from Linux-folk who are neither accomplished nor responsible. ("No movement is so noble that it won't attract waterheads.") But here are two responses from serious Linux programmers. They don't mince words.

"Whoever wishes to copy parts of our software into his program must let us use parts of that program in our programs. Nobody is forced to join our club, but those who wish to participate must offer us the same cooperation they receive from us. That makes the system fair.

"Microsoft surely would like to have the benefit of our code without the responsibilities. But it has another, more specific purpose in attacking the GNU GPL. Microsoft is known generally for imitation rather than innovation. Its purpose is strategic--not to improve computing for its users, but to close off alternatives for them.

"Hence their campaign to persuade us to abandon the license that protects our community, the license that won't let them say, 'What's yours is mine, and what's mine is mine.' They want us to let them take whatever they want, without ever giving anything back. They want us to abandon our defenses." --Richard Stallman 

"I'd rather listen to Newton than to Mundie. He may have been dead for almost three hundred years, but despite that he stinks up the room less." --Linus Torvalds


This promises to become lively.

And this press release came; usually I don't include press releases but it's appropriate:

For Immediate Release May 4, 2001

Media Alert: Tim O'Reilly Responds to Microsoft "Shared Source" Initiative

Yesterday, in a speech defending Microsoft's business model at the Stern School of Business at New York University, Craig Mundie, a senior vice president at Microsoft, suggested that companies embracing open source software are putting their intellectual property at risk.

Here's Tim O'Reilly's response:

"Microsoft SVP Craig Mundie is dead right when he says that the next generation of Internet applications can only come about through development efforts from a wide-ranging group of companies and developers. And Microsoft's 'Shared Source Philosophy' is a clear vindication of open source--they're lining up to embrace and extend the open source development model.

"But Mundie's contention that open source encourages code forking is a red herring. Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, and Me provide a more compelling example of 'unhealthy forking of a code base' than any open source project.

"Further, Mundie's focus on the evils of the GPL is somewhat of a smokescreen. While he raises legitimate issues, he ignores the widespread business adoption of other open source technologies like Apache and Perl that use more flexible, IP-friendly licenses. And although a significant chunk of any Linux distribution is covered by the GPL, business use has soared in the past few years with no notable IP tragedies to date.

"The world of computing has changed, and the smart people at Microsoft are trying hard to figure out how to stay ahead of the pack. They're doing a lot of things right--they've got a big story in .NET. I invite Craig Mundie to be my guest at our Open Source Convention in San Diego this July. If he wants to bring along some colleagues, I'll welcome them, too. After a few days immersed in the bleeding edge of open source development, I think he'll have an even bigger story to tell."


For the text of Mundie's speech: 

For more information on O'Reilly's Open Source Convention: 

To see Tim's response online: 

On the Natividad Virus (see view):

Got the following URLS from Symantec's website.

For info about W32Natividad: 

General info including latest date of NAV downloads: 

BTW, they have a new signature file posted today!

FWIW, it takes 1&;1/2 hours to scan my system, since I have it set to scan all files...... NAV checks something on start up, but doesn't do a complete scan at that time... I think it just checks for changes to boot records but am not sure.

Warmest regards,

Jim Whitlock

Yes, when I installed Norton AV on Roberta's new machine it went out to the web and brought in nearly a megabyte of stuff. I am quite pleased with it so far. I used to use it, got in the habit of something else, and may go back to it. Norton brand products work pretty well.












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