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CHAOS MANOR MAIL

Mail 185 December 24 - 30, 2001 

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IF YOU SEND MAIL it may be published; if you want it private SAY SO AT THE TOP of the mail. I try to respect confidences, but there is only me, and this is Chaos Manor. If you want a mail address other than the one from which you sent the mail to appear, PUT THAT AT THE END OF THE LETTER as a signature. In general, put the name you want at the end of the letter: if you put no address there none will be posted, but I do want some kind of name, or explicitly to say (name withheld).

Note that if you don't put a name in the bottom of the letter I have to get one from the header. This takes time I don't have, and may end up with a name you didn't want on the letter. Do us both a favor: sign your letters to me with the name you want posted.

I try to answer mail, but mostly I can't get to all of it. I read it all, although not always the instant it comes in. I do have books to write too...  I am reminded of H. P. Lovecraft who slowly starved to death while answering fan mail. 

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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.  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.
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Monday  December 24, 2001

Merry Christmas

 

 

 

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Tuesday,  December 25, 2001

Merry Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, December 26, 2001

Family Days

 

 

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Thursday, December 27, 2001

Family Days

 

 

 

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Friday, December 28, 2001

Roland calls attention to VIA Chipset problems and says I told you so.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/3/23502.html 

And then there is this:

Any science-fiction writer interested ?

------------------ http://www.webaxs.net/~noelz/articles/par-sem.htm  --SOVIET SCALAR ELECTROMAGNETIC WEAPONS--

This briefing presents the basic concepts of Soviet Scalar electromagnetic weapons, some of the major types available, and evidence of their widespread testing.

- Scalar Electromagnetics is Electrogravitation -

Scalar electromagnetics is an extension of present electromagnetics (EM) to include gravitation. That is, a unified electrogravitation, and, what is more important, it is a unified engineering theory. Its basis was discovered by Nikola Tesla.

In the scalar EM extension, EM field energy can be turned into gravitational field energy and vice versa. This exchange can be patterned and localized, in specific areas and objects. Such a controlled change of electromagnetics to gravitation is not possible in the normal EM or physics presently taught in Western textbooks. However, the bits and pieces of the theory have been scattered through the physics literature for some time, but no orthodox western scientist seems to have realized that these anomalous portions could be integrated into a startling new physics. Unorthodox experimenters, inventors, and scientists have made discoveries in this arena for several decades, but again have not realized the exact implications or the precise manner in which their results could be combined with present electrical physics.

-- Fer-De-Lance -- Such sluggishness is certainly not present in the Soviet Union. For over three decades, the Soviet Union has been developing electrogravitation and applying it to develop strange new secret weapons of incredible power and capability. They have sustained the largest weapons development program ever launched by any nation, and they have kept it effectively hidden from prying western eyes. I have called this program "Fer-De-Lance", after the deadly South American pit viper of the same name.

The dreaded fer-de-lance is a snake of great agility and lethal effect. It often ambushes its hapless prey, and strikes unexpectedly and without warning. Its first sudden strike is usually lethal to its victim, which promptly expires in writhing agony. Since the Soviet development of scalar EM weapons has been designed for the same purpose, the name seems appropriate.

The equivalent effort of about seven Manhattan projects has been poured into fer-de-lance by the Soviets, and the program has been successful almost beyond imagination. The eerie weapons are now developed, deployed, and tested. The ambush has been completed; Fer-de-Lance is coiled and ready to strike.

<...>

http://www.webaxs.net/~noelz/articles/par-sem.htm 

About which I know nothing at all.  Sounds like science fiction of the 40's... The Soviets put a lot into psychic research too.  But this may be real.

And Robert Ranson asks:

When was the last time you looked at this page?

http://www.jerrypournelle.com/reports/jerryp/empire.html

>From General Anthony C. Zinni's retirement speech on that page:


My son will face non-traditional missions in messy places that will make Somalia look like a picnic. He will see a changed battlefield, with an accelerated tempo and greatly expanded knowledge base. He will witness a great drop in the sense of calling. People entering the military will not be imprinted with his code. They will not be candidates for priesthood; at best, they will be part-time lay ministers. On his watch, my son is likely to see a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) event. Another Pearl Harbor will occur in some city, somewhere in the world where Americans are gathered, when that nasty bug or gas or nuke is released it will forever change him and his institutions. At that point, all the lip service paid to dealing with such an eventuality will be revealed for what it is--lip service. And he will have to deal with it for real. In its wake, I hope he gets to deal with yet another Goldwater-Nichols arrangement.

That paragraph was written in July 2000, 14 months before the September 11th attacks.  If only we had known that those Weapons of Mass Destruction would be knives and an empty red box.

Bureaucrats never learn.

Robert Ransom


Actually the weapons were the silly instructions given to cooperate with the hijackers. And the remedies we are now imposing, closing airports when someone abandons a bag in an airport Burger King, are merely the bureaucratic responses: they do no good but they can prove they did all they could.

But we were born free.

On Education

If Sercombe is right that the unions support getting rid of bad teachers, why don't the unions say so, or why doesn't this appear in the media? In other words, why aren't we seeing Sercombe's case being made in the media? One reason could be that it isn't very important to them, even if they somewhat agree with it. Another reason could be that it "would give people the wrong idea," i.e., it would make bad teachers the main or only issue so far as the public was concerned.

Bill Magaletta

In fact when was the last time any teacher was fired for incompetence, and how long did it take to do it?

I make no doubt that most good teachers wish the bad ones would go away, but I see little being done about it: it's not a profitable investment of a good teacher's resources and time. What's needed is more local control of schools: sometimes that will be awful, but it also means that a couple of crusading parents can actually accomplish something because there will be people they can talk to who can make things happen. IN LA you can get a 3 minute appointment to be heard at a school board meeting. It takes about 4 months. 

And from Steve Gibson:

Hello (and Happy Holidays),

I spent my Christmas Eve working on a new and free utility program to address the end-user's need to secure Windows XP further than Microsoft appears willing to.

You may be aware that after Thursday's announcement of a critical security flaw in every version of Windows XP, Friday the United States FBI urged consumers and businesses alike to (somehow) disable the Universal Plug & Play features built into XP. The various articles reporting this generally mentioned that the FBI didn't provide any specific means for carrying out such a "neutering".

It is in answer to this need that I wrote "UnPlug n' Pray".

UnPnP.exe is a small (22 kbyte) self-contained, standalone (no installation required), Windows application which any user -- regardless of their level of expertise -- can use to quickly, easily and reversibly disable the unnecessary and still-dangerous Universal Plug & Play support built into every version of Windows XP. Note that Microsoft's security update patch does NOT do this.

Please see the following page on my web site for the whole story:

http://grc.com/UnPnP/UnPnP.htm 

Steve

and

Sorry to bother you again so soon, but I wanted to mention that my little (still 22k bytes) UnPlug n' Pray utility now supports *EVERY* Windows platform.

Any Windows user -- Win9X/ME/NT/2000/XP -- can now use it to quickly determine whether the Universal Plug and Play services are installed on their system and, if so, can toggle their "enabled status" as desired.

Here is a link to the 22 kbyte Win app: http://grc.com/files/UnPnp.exe 

Here's a link to the companion web page: http://grc.com/UnPnP/UnPnP.htm 

 

Gibson is always worth paying attention to. He's not always right and sometimes he gets a bit, uh, overenthusiastic, but he's one of the good guys.

And speaking of good guys,

Jerry,

I wrote last Friday that application of the latest security updates to Windows XP left me unable to sync Microsoft Outlook data with my Compaq iPac. I'm still not sure exactly what caused the problem, but the fix was simple...I simply deleted the existing "partnership" between PC and handheld and create another. All is well now.

FWIW

Ron Morse

And Joe Ziff says

Jerry, I didn't have time to read all of the essay on a supposed military coup in 2012, but I did see enough to find an obvious fallicy in it: just because the VP declines to take the oath of office doesn't mean there's a power vacuum. The Constitution specifies a long line of succession, to avoid exactly that. The Speaker of the House would be both entitled and expected to step up and take the job in those circumstances, followed by the President Pro Tem of the Senate, then the various members of the Cabinet, in the order their departments were created. Nowhere, as far as I can tell, at least, was this even mentioned. Frankly, I'm astonished that none of the judges of the contest noted this. -- 

Joe Zeff The Guy With the Sideburns If you can't play with words, what good are they? http://home.earthlink.net/~sidebrnz

Indeed. I found that interesting too. Thanks for reminding me.

Hi,

In your recent column, you mentioned that the military is lousy at nation building. I mostly agree with you.

However, in the case of post-WWII Japan, Gen McArthur and staff did a truly wonderful job. I never thought much of McArthur's military skills (what blasphemy!) but he certainly turned Japan around and set it in the right direction (maybe Japan now needs a McArthur type once again to get it out of its doldrums).

I enjoy your colums, keep up the good work.

Best Regards, Richard C. Wharton

Germany and Japan were utterly defeated, occupied powers, and we had good proconsuls, Macarthur and Lucius Clay; and we were willing to spend money. We were also willing to overlook a number of politically incorrect decisions made by our proconsuls.  Today that does not seem to be the case. 

Moreover, while the reconstruction of Germany and Japan worked (as nation re-building, not building, by the way) and was necessary because they were large power gaps, I don't see the necessity for the US to be involved other than in Haiti -- which is in our back yard and we sure won't let others do it.  But our success there has been, to be charitable, limited...

For those who didn't get it, more on the Reezak Worm:

 

http://www.newsbytes.com/news/01/173111.html  http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/w32.maldal.c@mm.html 

This description has pretty pictures too

http://www3.ca.com/Virus/Virus.asp?ID=10699

and as described below

Beware: The Reeezak worm bears some nasty gifts Dec 21, 2001 John McCormick Author's Bio | E-Mail | Archive © 2001 TechRepublic, Inc.

Reeezak is yet another mass-mailing worm spreading through Microsoft Outlook address books and MSN Messenger. Unlike some other recent viruses, which didnít cause too much damage, this worm poses a major threat. However, the worm canít cause any damage unless people open the e-mail and the attachment propagated by this virus. But since this is the holiday season, the fake holiday greeting may trick a number of people into opening the attachment. Anyone who does open this worm risks having their computer completely disabled.

Details The Reeezak worm, also known asW32.Reeezak.A@mm, W32.Zacker.C@mm, and W32.Maldal.C@mm, was first reported Wednesday afternoon, December 19, 2001. The message that carries the Reeezak worm looks like the following:

Attachment: Christmas.exe Subject: Happy New year Message: Hii I can't describe my feelings But all i can say is Happy New Year :) bye

According to an early Newsbytes report , one of the things that the Christmas.exe script does is to modify Internet Explorer to point to a malicious Web site on Yahoo's Geocities community homepage service. Geocities is a free Web page hosting site, and itís simple to create a Web page anonymously on Geocities.

The Web page is titled jobreee/ZaCker.htm and it contains an anti-Semitic message. The source code of that page also attempts to use a JavaScript exploit from a known vulnerability in Internet Explorer to delete antivirus and personal firewall packages from the computer that browses the page. The Sophos.com antivirus site reports that the worm actually alters the default browser home page to the ZaCker site by changing a couple of registry keys.

In addition to deleting antivirus programs and sending the attacked computerís IE browser to a Web site containing more malicious code, Reeezak also disables some keyboard keys and, according to a Reuters report carried on CNET, attempts to delete files in the Windows System directory, which could completely disable the computer.

Computer Associates rates this a medium- to high-risk worm, Trend Micro rates it as a medium risk, ZDNet rates it as a 6 out of 10 on the Virus Meter, and Symantec says it already has wide distribution and poses a moderate threat.

Final word As usual, I should point out that opening unexpected attachments is never a good idea and could help avoid this virus altogether. Many organizations have antivirus software that automatically blocks .exe files, so these companies should not be affected by this worm.

mike zawistowski 

And on Star Office:

First the original mail:

Jerry,

Regarding your finding that MS applications are pretty good for what they do: in my opinion this is true only in a limited sense(for Office, at least). If your needs are very basic, Office will do what you need with little sweat. OTGH, in that case why spend $416 for XP Pro when competing products are cheap or free and just as straightforward? If you have complex but repetitive tasks and have already endured and forgotten the pain of familiarization, Office can also be adequate. But to do something in MS Office apps that has not previously been attempted and involves a degree of complexity is, IMO, typically very painful. Let me give you the latest example, fresh in my mind because it *was* only yesterday. Create 2 tables in Access 2000. The table #1 contains a key to be used to look up a field in table #2. The associated fields represent dollar values. Define the field in table #1 as currency, and Access will tell you that you can't use that type field for a look up function - proper behavior. Define the table #1 field as numeric and the table #2 field as currency, however, and Access goes nuts when you try to define the look up from table #1 (I did it this way first, of course). You will receive a message claiming that you referenced an invalid function named "|". You will receive another error telling you that Access can't find the look up wizard, please install all wizards from media. You may, depending on the data already in the tables and design previously done, see more messages complaining that you have damaged the expression builder or replaced it with a non-MS version and/or that you cannot use the field in a look up because it violates an existing relationship for that field (this in an mdb that *has* no relationships) Every error imaginable is cited except for any that relate to the actual problem. I spent about 3 hours yesterday messing about with Office repair, Office reinstall, and Office patches and service packs, when the real problem was a simple data mismatch. For years, I have found similar snafus whenever first trying to do something beyond basic function in Office apps. To me, this is not nearly good enough. Personally and professionally, I'm more than ready for a change. YMMVOC.

Scott Miller

I then asked what he proposed as substitute:

Jerry,

Personally, I find the latest version of Star Office good enough, at least the word processing and spreadsheet modules. I haven't used the adabas db engine much yet. As long as I have a database manager that will allow me to quickly and easily design and relate tables, I'm happy. If I need fancy reports and graphs, I can use Crystal Reports. Any fairly complete implementation of SQL will do. The trick for me will be to identify one before I get into crunch time with the next project. Otherwise, I will fall back on Access in desperation, again. The only issue preventing me from pushing for a feasibility study on switching our 800-plus users to Star Office is the availability of conversion tools for macros and the like. I can't imagine those won't be available from third parties shortly after the Star Office commercial release.

Regards, Scott Miller

I intend to get to general applications and utilities as a major subject early next year.

And another view of Linux:

Seeing Mr. Rosenberg's review of Star Office, I downloaded the binary from. It was fairly painless to download & run the .rpm package manager, true. But... I LOATHE the fonts it used when I loaded some Word documents to test the data compatability! UUUGGHGHG! Yuuck! The onscreen fonts were terrible, and Star Office didn't print it worth a damn. Ditto for a simple document I wrote that included text boxes & line drawing between the boxes (to approximate a structure chart; looked pretty darn good in Word; I use the Office 2000 package over here).

Maybe I should have converted fonts, or something, or not used the default printer for Star Office, but RH 7.2 itself handles my HP Injet 962c just fine.

My verdict (for now): 2 thumbs down.

Casey Tompkins

Indeed. For Roland's reply on what to do about this see next week's mail.

And Joel Rosenberg proposes for the Crazy Years files:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/23477.html 

"A college computer technician who offered his school's unused computer processing power for an encryption research project will be tried next month in Georgia for computer theft and trespassing charges that carry a potential total of 120 years in jail. "

And we will all ride airplanes stark nude and chained into our seats. Have a nice day.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday, December 30, 2001

Happy New Year

 

 

 

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