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CHAOS MANOR MAIL

Mail 197 March 18 - 24, 2002 

 

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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 and address you didn't want on the letter. Do us both a favor: sign your letters to me with the name and address (or no address) as you want them 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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Monday  March 18, 2002

Friendly, warm Microsoft.

http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1103-861947.html 

 Roland Dobbins 

<mordant@gothik.org> 

Frankly, I don't believe in magic.

-- Gary Gygax, creator of Dungeons & Dragons

I am not sure that needs a comment...

Nor does this:

Hello Wise One My homework assignment is to find and download Spinrite 5.0 for free. I would appreciate any tips, hints or pointers that you could provide. 

Thankyou Carly

And from a long time reader

Dear Dr. Pournelle, Since the release candidate copy of Windows XP I had was about to expire, I bit the bullet and spent >$300 to get a copy of Windows 2000 Professional as I remembered you saying that the Home version was to be avoided. So far it has XP beat all to ell - took far less than a working day to install, even with downloading and installing Service Pack 2, and to this point has suffered none of the BSOD that were so frequent with XP. Perhaps I was not being fair to XP - my eTower 366c with its mere 256MB of RAM, 255MHz Cyrix II MMX CPU, and 3.0 GB main drive may not have been really enough room for it to flex its muscles, and I haven't yet installed AOL. Nonetheless, Win2K/Pro is behaving much more like the unobtrusive OS it is supposed to be, a lot like the NT 4.0 Workstation software I have on my Compaq PC at work. One oddity, though - I have had an external 100MB ZIP drive attached to the eTower since Day 1, and an HP Deskjet hooked up to the ZIP through the parallel port in the back. When I installed XP, it found the printer right away but could not detect the ZIP drive until I downloaded software and drivers from Iomega. The same thing happened when I scrubbed XP off the master drive and installed Win2K. Any idea why both OS would miss the drive?

Wishing you many years of continued health, Kevin Trainor Mpls, MN

Sorry about the formatting. I haven't time or energy to reformat mail tonight, so it goes up as paste special puts it... (best is to double space between paragraphs, and don't count on any fancy fontwork surviving...)

Thanks

The license for Windows XP contains some caveats about what software you are and are not allowed to run on your XP system. They are discussing this on Slashdot now. We can only guess what Microsoft had in mind when they wrote this, but it appears to make it a violation to run WinVNC on your XP computer. A quote:

"I use VNC extensively to manage several hundred desktops daily," Brown says. "So for me this is a big deal, and a good reason to stay away from XP until I see significant value added compared to Win 2000. So far I haven't."

http://www.infoworld.com/articles/op/xml/
02/03/18/020318oplivingston.xml
 

http://www.uk.research.att.com/vnc/winvnc.html 

-- Steve R. Hastings "Vita est" steve@hastings.org http://www.blarg.net/~steveha

I give up trying to read Microsoft's collective mind...

My only personal copy of XP-Pro is an OEM pre-install and activate so I missed some of this - never read the EULA. I see real and cogent anti-trust issues here as well. What does this say about Laplink or Carbon Copy or ....

Further for the laptop business traveler in an enterprise environment I see no current alternative to XP given needs for remote connectivity and PNP in the field as drivers for W2K fall further behind.

http://www.infoworld.com/articles/op/
xml/02/03/18/020318oplivingston.xml
 

Window Manager Brian Livingston

XP bandwidth brouhaha

THE NEWNESS OF Windows XP -- with its sometimes addled approach to license restrictions, copy protection, and security -- lends itself to confusion. Reader Tom Gleason sent me an example, quoting Web sites that claimed XP needlessly consumes 20 percent of your PC's network bandwidth.

Like a lot of online talk, this is misinformed. Windows 2000 introduced QoS (quality of service) features using an Admission Control Service and the Internet Engineering Task Force's RSVP signaling. XP doesn't support these two protocols but provides its own QoS components. The QoS Packet Scheduler dialog box in XP Professional shows a default "bandwidth limit" of 20 percent. This created a buzz on the Web to the effect that XP artificially withheld one-fifth of your bandwidth, even if its Packet Scheduler was turned off.

Not to worry. There's no restriction unless your network specifically supports XP-style QoS and it's requested by an application, such as a streaming media player. Even then, by default only 20 percent is set aside. (See www.techtv.com/screensavers/windowstips/story/0,24330,3365585,00.html.)

But it is worth looking into QoS, because some applications can benefit from increasing it or, conversely, terminating it. For example, high-speed Internet access through the DirecTV satellite service will not work unless XP's QoS is disabled. (See www.direcpc.com/xpinstall/install.htm.)

Reader Frank Brown sent me a completely different concern about XP, relating to VNC (Virtual Network Computing), a free remote-access application I described last week (see "Your virtual network," InfoWorld, March 11).

Microsoft's XP license agreement says, "Except as otherwise permitted by the NetMeeting, Remote Assistance, and Remote Desktop features described below, you may not use the Product to permit any Device to use, access, display, or run other executable software residing on the Workstation Computer, nor may you permit any Device to use, access, display, or run the Product or Product's user interface, unless the Device has a separate license for the Product."

That means using any software other than Microsoft's to view an XP desktop from Windows 2000 or any other operating system would violate the company's license agreement, in case you care.

The mind staggers...

The Sad Parable of OS/2.

http://www.linuxandmain.com/features/os2retro.html 

 Roland Dobbins <mordant@gothik.org> 

"Rather than form a federation with Microsoft and work with what we had already created, there was this notion that the world should be offered an alternative."

-- Craig Mundie, Microsoft CTO, speaking at WCTI 2002

And object lesson?

And the following is also without comment:

Jerry,

I have one of those Athlon systems with the VIA chipset and it works wonderfully. But check out http://www6.tomshardware.com/cpu/01q3/010917/index.html . Tom's Hardware has an article showing what happens to Athlon processors when the heat sinks fall off or the fan(s) quit. Apparently when Intel chips overheat their built in throttling works well. The Athlon, according to Tom's, doesn't and the processors melt down. This may not be true for all Athlon processors but it applies to the one I use at home. As a safety net I always have the Asus Probe software running to monitor temperatures and fan speeds. The software is supposed to alert you with sound and visuals when a parameter falls out of range although it has never done so. Because of this article in Tom's I won't run a server with an Athlon nor will I leave my home computer unattended. I need to sit by my Athlon in hopes that if it ever does overheat I'm quick enough to throw the power switch.

With your Athlon references you might find the Tom's article supportive of your recent writings in Chaos Manor.

Best! Phil Trostel Denver, CO.


An Artilleryman's Reply

I agree that artillery is harder to move around than mortars. But many of Tony Evan's comments are innacurate. If a mortar crew can provide its own security, cannot a howitzer crew do also. They have M-16s, M-240 machine guns and the howitzer itself. I served in the northern part of South Vietnam and we routinely fired high angle. A howitzer crew is bigger than a 120 mortar crew but it is not that bad. A M-119 howitzer only has one truck and is often, especially in the 101st, moved by helicopter. A 105mm round from a howitzer weighs approximately the same as a 120mm mortar round. Yes a howizter can fire tons of ammo per gun per day. My infantry comrades consider that good support. We are seeing a revolution in air power. Aircraft being able to HIT something with bombs is new. Will the Air Force (and Navy) bewilling to become "aerial artillery"? That means being there all day, every day, no matter what the weather. Most sorties in Afghanistan have been flown by jet fighters that have minutes of loiter time. Will the Air Force trade F-22's for modified 757's carrying JDAMs? One way to get an indication of the answer is to compare the number of bomber pilots vs fighter pilots to the number of general officers from each fleet.

From an active duty cannon cocker.

And from the Air National Guard

Dear Jerry

I am a retired pilot that spent 16 years flying with the Tennessee Air National Guard. My experiences are nothing like those described by Col Hackworth or Gordon Runkle. Col. Hackworth's article reads more like something from a grocery store tabloid rather than a serious report and I don't believe it. I am sure that there are a few rotten apples in any group as large and as diversified as the 50 National Guard organizations but to tar everybody with the same brush is irresponsible.

Since I am more familiar with the Air Guard, I will confine my remarks to that branch. We always had to meet the same requirements as the active duty troops with worn out equipment. The last 7 years before retiring, I was flying the C130 and we did everything the active duty units did except for specialized missions such as HALO high altitude drops and the LAPSE missions that our model C130s were not equipped to fly. Right now, the NY Air National Guard is the only unit equipped with ski equipped C130,s and handles all Artic Missions while the Air Force Reserve handles all Hurricane missions. Our ground crews are much better than those of active duty squadrons. They have to be to fly the missions we do with the equipment we have to use.

The local Army Guard served in Arabia for a year during Desert Storm and several members of that unit just returned from a 6 month tour in Bosnia. My old Air Guard unit also supplied ground support personnel for the current war in Afghanistan. Don't tell me the Guard and Reserves aren't qualified and trained for their mission. They are doing it every day.

Chuck Anderson Lt. Col USAF Ret.

From Eric Pobirs:

This article has some more detail and a good analysis of the trust issues IBM is creating for itself.

http://www.viahardware.com/ibm120gxp.shtm 

And then:

ICANN sues ICANN.

http://www.eff.org/Cases/Auerbach_v_ICANN/20020318_petition.html 

- Roland Dobbins <mordant@gothik.org> 

Frankly, I don't believe in magic.

-- Gary Gygax, creator of Dungeons & Dragons

Why not?

ANd for something different:

So where's Eris and the Golden Apple?

The original article is at the link at the bottom.

QUOTED TEXT BEGINS:

"Helen of Troy Palace Found Among Ruins"

by John Carr

Athens, March 15, 2002 -- An archaeologist claims to have found the palace from which Helen of Troy was abducted at the dawn of European history, triggering the Trojan War.

Theodore Spyropoulos, a regional official of Greece's Central Archaeological Council, said that more than twenty years of excavation near the small village of Pellana, fifteen miles north of modern Sparta, brought to light formidable building foundations dated to around 1200 BC, close to the probable date of the Trojan War.

The scale of the biggest building, approximately 40 ft. by 95 ft., indicates that it must have been a palace, he said.

"I am absolutely certain beyond the slightest doubt that Pellana is the Homeric site of the palace of Menelaus," Professor Spyropoulos told the newspaper ELEFTHEROS TYPOS.

In Homer's epics, Menelaus, King of Sparta, was the husband of the famously beautiful Helen. Furious at her abduction by the Trojan prince Paris, a palace guest, he helped to organise the Greek military punitive expedition known as the Trojan War -- the first known East-West conflict.

There are signs of workshops and storerooms, the foundations of a mile-long fortification, and a road almost as wide as a modern motorway around the palace remains -- all evidence, Professor Spyropoulos says, that the complex must have been the most important in the region.

"There are ten times as many finds here as there have been at Mycenae," he said. Mycenae, seventy miles to the northwest, was the centre of a Bronze Age Greek civilisation that collapsed in the chaos left by the war.

But Professor Spyropoulos's claim goes against generally held archaeological opinion, which places Menelaus's palace three miles northeast of Sparta, at the Menelaion, a Bronze Age mansion where Menelaus and Helen were honoured as demigods for centuries.

David Blackman, director of the British School of Archaeology in Athens, said: "We're awaiting more evidence and confirmation." The school has for years been excavating the Sparta area, including the Menelaion.

But he added: "We have never taken the line that no other alternative to the Menelaion could be considered."

Paul Cartledge, Professor of Greek History at Cambridge University, said that the claim was interesting but would require further and more detailed evidence and documentary substantiation.

"Professor Spyropoulos is a respected excavator and his claim is very interesting. But as yet there is no firm proof that this was Menelaus's palace, let alone the place whence Helen was abducted.

"The ancient Spartans would have been surprised to discover that Helen was not from Sparta but from Pellana, farther to the north."

According to Homer's ODYSSEY, Helen repented of her unfaithfulness and the ten-year bloodletting that it caused. In an account that sounds too good to be true, she returned to Menelaus and their palace, remaining thereafter a model wife.

###

Copyright 2002, Times Newspapers Ltd.

QUOTED TEXT ENDS.

 

 

 

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Tuesday,  March 19, 2002

>> but I was tempted to buy a copy (www.winzip.com) just to support them: The product is that good<<

<Subtle irony> "I was reading one of your novels at my local Border's store with a cup of coffee and was tempted to buy it, the book was that good..."</irony>

(Gently, gently...) See also Wired's e-publishing whine at http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,51113,00.html  which is an article I would love to read except that Wired's website crashes Netscape 6 nearly every time I try to use it there... :)

Have a good 'un, Mr. Pournelle, and may the more rabid shareware fans be much more polite (and erudite) than were AMD fans previously.

Michael Sherck Msherck@aol.com

The difference is that I didn't send you a free copy for review. The only reason I have so many of these machines is so that I can do all these silly things so you don't have to. I pay for enough stuff. Sometimes I pay even when I don't have to.

Jerry, I have just read your article on the problems you are experiencing with EverQuest and the 8500. I believe that this is not a driver issue as such. Although I do not play EverQuest, I have experienced similar glitches in other games, Serious Sam being the main culprit. I found the solution was to go into the advanced properties of the video adaptor and then Direct 3D. Once there I switched various options on and off, and retried the game after each change. I think that this problem was caused by having either 8 bit stencil on/off and or one of the other five options.

I realize this is a little vague, but as I know you are someone who enjoys fiddling with settings, i am sure you can work it out reasonably quickly.

I do suggest you take the latest official drivers from ATI and then proceed to tweak.

I hope this helps in some small way.

Keep up the great work on your column. I have been a fan since I lived in Austin Texas a few years ago and have now moved back to the UK.

Declan Kiernan.

Next week will be the part about Radeon and XP. It works with XP, but not 2000. I suspect that diddling with settings will in fact do it: it sure seems like it ought to; but I ran out of time.

Hello Dr. Pournelle,

I read with extreme interest your March columns on Byte.Com's web site and have a comment and a question, in that order:

You might want to know that VIA also makes core logic chip sets for Intel CPUs, and I have had the same problems you experienced with EverQuest on them. Attempting to play games using DirectX 8.1 caused a crash.

To their credit, VIA is candid about problems with their chip sets and works with customers to fix them, but I wish they did not have the problems to begin with.

I also "solved" the problem using your method. I replaced the motherboard with an Intel-manufactured one. Since then, I have not had one blue screen.

I also had a question about the ATI All In Wonder card you installed.

I am considering installing one of these in a computer, and am curious about your "tweaking" comment to improve the 2-D graphics and text. Was this something specific you did for the video card? I find that as I grow older having crisp, sharp text on the screen is becoming more and more important.

Thank you for any insights you can share.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

 "I tell ya, this software support stuff 
 is a lotta work..." - Scott C. Best 

Mostly it's a matter of turning on smoothing then fiddling around to find the right combination of font and screen resolution for your monitor. ATI is not quite as good as Matrox but it's sure better than nVIDIA when it comes to text displays.

From Joe Zeff at Earthlink:

Jerry, I've been uninstalling QOS on Win2k and XP machines for months now. It solves problems of not being able to connect, bad connections and low throughput. I've never seen a member's connection get worse. Personally, I'd recommend this step in general, unless you know you have a program that needs it. As far as the 20% of bandwidth goes, I've always heard it as "up to 20%."

As far as the Navy being willing to be "aerial artillery," that's basically what The Gun Line was all about back in 'Nam. I know, as I was there doing shore bombardment. It's also what the Navy's main job was in Desert Storm, as well as in earlier wars, such as WWII and Korea. There's no reason to think this custom would change.

Indeed. In Korea after December 1950 we'd not have got most of our units out of North Korea alive if the Navy hadn't been able to hold the beach with their big guns.

And this:

Dear Dr. Pournelle:

Your memory is not failing you--"The Last of the Legions" is indeed a Stephen Vincent Benet story. My copy appears in a paperback anthology entitled (somewhat unimaginatively) "The Stephen Vincent Benet Pocket Book, His Most Famous Stories and Poems, Edited and with an Introduction by Robert Van Gelder." The book is Copyright Pocket Books, New York, 1946.

It includes TLOTL and many others, including all those you mention. You might wish to go to www.abebooks.com and search on "Stephen Vincent Benet" as AUTHOR and "Pocket Book" as TITLE: you should get about two dozen hits, all under $20 and most well under $10. I am going to cut and paste the URL of the search below: with any luck you can just go straight to it:

http://dogbert.abebooks.com/abe/
BookSearch?ph=2&an=StephenVincentBenet
&tn=PocketBook&ds=100&sortby=2
 

Hope this helps!

v/r, dh

 

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Thursday, March 21, 2002

A bunch of them from Roland.

The UN In Action

http://www.nationalreview.com/kob/kob032102.shtml 

Liaoceratops yanzigouensis 

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,3-242433,00.html 

Artificial fish fingers (say it three times, fast):

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,2-242470,00.html 

And Lloyd's succumbs:

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,2-242471,00.html 

That latter one is sad. Or so think I.

On Radeon

 

Just to let you know, I have a ATI Radeon 8500 running under WinXP, the latest drivers work, but there are still glitches where some character looses his hair, the textures disapear, the characters are almost invisible (you have to locate them by their floating name), etc. The driver they recomended was a little better, but not perfect. At least I can play, and the graphic glitches only last for as long as you maintain the view angle.

I have read your column for the longest time, probably starting in 1985 when I was learning english. So I know that you are always running after your time and I should stop my ramblings here not to waste any more of it, but I can't stop myself from telling you my experience with ATI boards and the 8500 in particular. I've used ATI boards since the first days of "super-VGA" and have never had any problems with them. I currently have an All-In-Wonder, All-In-Wonder Radeon and a Radeon 8500. I have never had anything to say against them, their drivers or anything else related to them. The ATI boards are the only constants in all the computers I buy. The only problem EVER, is now with Everquest. It is ridiculous that they can't resolve their problems. Does Sony own GeForce? Maybe I'm exagerating, but they have had a few months now and as far as I understand it (with the power demand on the graphics card from their Luclin extension) Radeon 8500 has a fair share of the Ever! quest players. It is good to see you mention it, it may push them to move a little.

Last note; The GeForce2 is visibly slower than the Radeon 8500. The GeForce3 is similar. In theory, the Radeon 8500 should be faster, but the drivers are not optimized very well as I hear. I don't think it would be a visible difference though.

Hopefully the last note. About the TV tuner capability of the All-In-Wonder boards; they can be used to capture TV, save subtitles or scan them for particular words to trigger events like recording, do the TIVO online recording thing, other little nifty things like that and of course watch Titus while programming late (I love his humour). I have also heard of voice recognition to do the same as the subtitle scanning.

I have to kick myself to stop now.

Love your column. Have a good one.

Yves Paradis

PS: Sorry for the english, I didn't even have a spell checker since I'm writing from the web (I just had to fit a PS in there).

Thanks! And best wishes.

I don't have this next one yet, but of course we will have to read it:

Interesting article in "The Atlantic" about computer simulation & the disappearance of the Anasazi in the southwest. Not having your background, I can't judge the accuracy of the article, but it was a good read. Perhaps it might dovetail with your new series with Larry Niven?

The preamble reads: "The new science of artificial societies suggests that real ones are both more predicable and more surprising than we thought. Growing long-vanished civilizations and modern-day genocides on computers will probably never enable us to foresee the future in detailóbut we might learn to anticipate the kinds of events that lie ahead, and where to look for interventions that might work." http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2002/04/rauch.htm 

regards,

Jim Whitlock

Thanks. It is in fact a fascinating article. I wrote about Axtell's Sugarscape in the old paper BYTE some time ago. Fascinating stuff.

 

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Friday, March 22, 2002

Begin with a request:

Jerry,

Image Expert 2000 the best but buggy image management software has just been bought by another company Jasc and renamed After Shot. I think it is in a death spiral. Do you know of any photo management software that allows one to have different sized thumbnails, more than one album open at a time and drag and drop between albums. This may sound trivial but if one is trying to organize photoís Image Expert 2000 was it. But the lack of support et al make it a goner Iím afraid. Help Iím stuck and canít find anything to replace it. Do you know of anyone who might know?

David K Brown

It's more in David Em's line than mine. I use Thumbs Plus but I don't have very complex needs.

Roland reports yet more holes:

http://security.greymagic.com/adv/gm002-ie/ 

and we have this query:

Dear Dr. Pournelle:

A short note to you to ask if you have ever heard of the Outlook Express Inbox deleting all the messages within and resetting itself at random intervals? It also gets the new message from the Microsoft Outlook Express Team saying "Welcome."

It just did this again, and I am confused... I do have a rule that makes a backup of each incoming message to anothe folder... but that seems like a rather primitive way to do things...

Also, we are still working on parasites and networks here in Nebraska. Check our web site below if you have more than 2 - 3 miocroseconds of time. We are now getting ready to implement a remote controlled microscope for the lab. Kind of like the remote access telescopes the astronomy community uses. There is one on-line already in Germany. They call it a telemicroscopy facility. We are working with the same person who will supply the source code.

All the best.

Scott

Scott L. Gardner Curator of Parasitology The Harold W. Manter Laboratory of Parasitology University of Nebraska - Lincoln Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0514

e-mail: slg@unl.edu Tel: 402-472-3334 Fax: 402-472-8949 Web: http://hwml.unl.edu \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

I don't use Outlook Express at all, so I can't help a bit. I use Outlook 2000

It's not wonderful but it does what I need and I am used to its quirks.

 

 

 

 

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I took the day off.

 

 

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Sunday, March 24, 2002

Be sure to look at this one.

And they keep offering me wealth, which I could use to build space ships:

ISSA IBRAHIM TEL:234-803-3011569 FAX:234-1-7590165

urgent business proposal

sir

First, I must solicit your confidence in this transaction; this by virtue of it nature is uterly confidencial.Though I no that a transaction of this magnitude will make any one apprehensive and worried.

My name is Mr Issa Ibrahim. the (executive director)of tresurery credit control unit with Habib-BANK NIGERIA PLC LAGOS. I came to know you in my private search for a reliable and reputable person to handle this confidencial transaction, which involves the transfer of huge sum of money into a foreign account requiring maximum confidence.A foreigner by name malam Abdul AL_SAHEED who was a crude oil merchant/General contractor with federal repulic of Nigeria, until his death some years ago in a kenya Airline Airbus (A310300)Flight KQ430 Air crash.

He did his financial banking transactions with us HABIB Bank Nigeria PLC and had a closing balance as at the end of January 2000, which is worth US$22,000,000.00(TWENTY TWO MILLION DOLLARS)OUR Bank expected his next of kin to come forward as sole beneficiary to his asset with the bank, meanwhile, valueable efforts have been made by HABIB Bank for more than one year now to get in touch with any of the ABDUL AL_SAHEED family or relatives without any success.

It is because of the perceived impossibility of been able to locate any late ABDUL AL_SAHEED next of kin (he had no wife or children that is known to us).Based on ths, the managament of our bank under the influence of our chairman and other members of board of directors are secretly planning to seize the funds and declare it as (unclaimed.)And subsquently divert it for their personal use.In oder to avert this negative development, I and two of my trusted collegues in the bank now want you to stand in as the next of kin to late ABDUL AL_SAHEED so that the fund will be released and paid into the account you made known to us as beneficiary.

We will give you 25% of the total money as compensation,10% for any expenses that may arise into this transaction and share the remaining among our selves upon the receipt of your Banking particulars i.e your Name and Account Number where the money will be lodged PLUS YOUR PRIVATE TELEPHONE AND YOUR FAX NUMBERS FOR EASY COMMUNICATION. I want to assure you that this is 100% risk free. As soon as we receive an acknowledgment of your acceptance, we will furnish you with the necessarily modalities for a successful conclusion.You can contact me through the above address or e-mail: mg_consult@scientist.com Thank you for your co-operation.

yours faithfully MR ISSA IBRAHIM.

I guess I will have to pass on this, as I have been offered even more from another Nigerian source to participate in corruption in the oil spill cleanup appropriations. But perhaps there is less risk in this one? What to do, what to do.

But perhaps I won't have to invest in building rockets and stuff:

Hello Mr. Pournelle:

I read on your site a description of a "bag test" for reactionless drives (duplicated below).

Now maybe 1000s of people have emailed this to you, but just in case, here's a link to a website:

> http://jnaudin.free.fr/html/lifteriw.htm 

About halfway down, this guy is claiming to show a rig that passes the test you describe on your site (well, using a scale, not a swing, and he doesn't address mass change).

When I first saw these lifters they looked like ion drives, which makes sense to me, given what little I know about physics. But when I saw him claiming to pass the bag test, it intrigued me. About the only thing I can think of is a magnetic interaction with the scale.

But then again, I know just enough about physics to get myself in trouble. So I'll bow out now. I send this just in case nobody else has thought of you with regard to this.

Hope you don't mind email from a total stranger who has loved your work.

Enjoy,

Paul

---

>From your website:

> If anyone does have a candidate device for producing reactionless acceleration > -- that is, linear acceleration without throwing mass overboard and without > reacting with a medium such as air or water -- the first test is to suspend it > on two wires attached so that the plane of the two wires is normal to the > direction of thrust-- that is, make a swing and put your gadget on it facing > in the normal direction of travel of the swing. Now turn it on. If it will > hang non-vertically, get interested. Now cover it with a plastic garbage bag > and see if it will still hang non-vertically. If it will still do so, turn it > off, and if it settles to a vertical angle, and you can do this repeatedly, > and it hasn't lost any mass during the experiments, call your local physics > professor. Or call me. I'll take care of notifying the Swedish Academy. But > until it will do that, I don't need to look at it.

I fear I am not quite smart enough to see what this new device does, but they ought to try the swing test. If it gets past that, let me know.

Regarding image album editors:

Jerry -- Jasc (maker of Paint Shop Pro image editor) already has an album management tool called Media Center Plus. It allow different sized thumbnails (by album) with drag and drop between them. It may be just what he needs.

Carl Newman

and

Dear Jerry,

Regarding

"Image Expert 2000 the best but buggy image management software has just been bought by another company Jasc and renamed After Shot. I think it is in a death spiral. Do you know of any photo management software that allows one to have different sized thumbnails, more than one album open at a time and drag and drop between albums. This may sound trivial but if one is trying to organize photoís Image Expert 2000 was it. But the lack of support et al make it a goner Iím afraid. Help Iím stuck and canít find anything to replace it. Do you know of anyone who might know?

David K Brown"

May I suggest http://www.extensis.com/portfolio/  . It is US $200 but I believe it will do what Mr. Brown wants. They offer a free demo version.

Greg French Middleton, NS Canada

It is not a program I know. 

From Joe Zeff

The latest dumb worm

http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/56/24547.html 

Well, at least this time there's a little humor involved, and they were clever enough to make it almost look like it's been virus scanned.

I trust none of my readers were bitten.

And from Roland a warning about Outlook Privacy problems

http://online.securityfocus.com/archive/1/263304 

http://security.greymagic.com/adv/gm002-ie/ 

More from Roland:

Economies of scale.

http://www.qconline.com/more/regs.html 

Journalistic Integrity

http://www.philly.com/mld/dailynews/news/local/2911922.htm 

"Just because they are young does not mean they are not thieves"

http://www.kansascity.com/mld/
kansascitystar/news/2909619.htm
 

More on warming being cyclical

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?
xml=/news/2002/03/22/wring22.xml&sSheet=
/news/2002/03/22/ixworld.html
 

And the state of CE

http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/54/24531.html 

And finally, "The Horror"

http://www.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/
03/23/food.fight.ap/index.html
 

Thanks. I don't know how you manage to read everything...

And Joe Zeff reminds me of a story I read in The LA Times and forgot on purpose:

If you want to know what the real priorities of lawmakers are in this time of tight budgets, check http://www.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/
03/23/food.fight.ap/index.html
. Making such a big fuss out of a temporary inconvenience while laying off government workers is just one more piece of proof, if such is needed, that the average legislator's forgotten what the term "public servant" means.

I would have said it merely shows what most of us find out as we get older. The purpose of government is to hire, pay, and keep happy government workers, the more senior the worker the more the organization exists to keep that worker happy...

And on that score, it's BAAACK...

http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,51245,00.html 

Have fun

 

 

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