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MAIL 223 September 16 - 22, 2002






BOOK Reviews

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Highlights this week:

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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 September 16, 2002

This is not my best day, so if I say something stupid, tell me gently...


You often discuss the history of the Middle East (and other regions as well), but having been subjected to the non-education that is the current American Educational systems version of history (even here in Iowa), I know almost nothing about these events. Heck, I didn't even know much about much we screwed with Iran in the 1950's, and what an idiot Wilson (not that I'd even known much about Wilson even...) was until I started reading this book: 

So, can you suggest any good books on this type of thing? Probably the Middle East is as good a place as any to start, but I'd guess a World History book of some type? I'm sure there's plenty of information on the web, but something more organized would seem to be appropriate.

Thanks, Pete Flugstad

To start with I would not rely on that web site. It has a very definite view, and much of it is not mine.

The problem is that things are complicated, and things since 1950 or so aren't entirely agreed on as to what is "history" and what is viewpoint and opinion. What terrible things we did to Iran is a matter of opinion, and part of that opinion is this: whether Mossadegh could have built a viable regime in that Cold War era, or would it have fallen to the Russians? If that latter then the Anglo-American interference was a Good Thing for the West and probably for the Iranians as well. After all, the only reason the Russians were not in Tehran permanently is that Harry Truman made them an offer they couldn't refuse, and pretty well chased them out.

I used to have a bumper sticker in the Kennedy era: "I miss Ike. Hell, I miss Harry."  I meant it, too.

 There is also considerable controversy about the Shah and his popularity and intentions. His White Revolution was in fact making progress and he was trying to build a middle class. He also had a bunch of corrupt officials to support -- but then every regime in Persia since Herodotus has had this situation. Democracy doesn't work well in sufficiently diverse societies. And of course the new regime of the Mullahs slaughtered religious dissidents and engaged in practices that the Shah was never accused of.

So would the world be better of if Mossadegh had prevailed and dumped the Shah? I thought so at the time, but I thought a lot of very wrong things at that time. I am now of the opinion that Jimmy Carter was dead wrong in allowing the Shah to be deposed (the Shah came to the US for help as he always did, and followed US advice as he always did, but what he got from Carter didn't work very well). But it is an opinion, based mostly on hindsight.

I find Paul Johnson's histories to be reasonably objective. Johnson is of course fairly conservative, and a convert to Catholicism, and that informs his work; but everyone writes from a point of view. 

There is no objective history of Israel, and there isn't likely to be one for a long time. I find Glubb Pasha and Chaim Hertzog between them cover the 1948 war fairly well but you have to read both of them, and Glubb's book is long out of print.

Commentary Magazine is published by the American Jewish Society and clearly has a viewpoint, but it's pretty good; but once again you have to read both the articles and the letters in comment, and the replies to those letters. When you have done all that you will have one viewpoint. Finding another is more difficult because the Arab view is usually presented by people who make up some of their data, and don't generally run a letters section to refute what was said.

The intellectual history of the United States is another problem. Take McCarthy as an example: it seems generally agreed that he was a mindless monster intent on trampling on civil rights for no reason. That isn't the case; it's a lot more complex than that. Many of those he accused of being Communists including some of the most unlikely like the grandmotherly cleaning lady at Fort Dix, really were not merely Communists but agents of the Soviets. Moreover, McCarthy knew that: and the government did little about it, as witness the Amerasia case and its aftermath. The picture presented by the American movie industry and now by most academic histories is just wrong: and most of those neglect to show that McCarthy was in fact brought down by the Senate of the United States.  For that story I can recommend Bill Buckley's quasi-novel The Red Hunter; it's more accurate than most. And Ben Stein has done a very good job of showing what happened in Hollywood.

I could go on, but my point is, I wish there were a magic book, but I don't know of any. For history of the West you still can't beat Barzun's Dawn to Decadence which I have recommended many times, and to go with that Paul Johnson's books are both readable and in my judgment more accurate than many. But when you get past 1950, I could make up a list, but it would be long; the only way to get a feel for that era is to read accounts from more than one view. Unfortunately, the American school system presents only one view and it doesn't even present that one in a very consistent manner. Alas.


On another topic entirely:

Regarding your correspondent (Friday's mail) who wondered about Best Security Practices, here's a good place to start  . Some of the info is built for corporate users, but it is still quite informative. For home users, start here:  . There are some useful nuggets of information throughout the site.

The SANS institute (here ) also has good security information. I especially like their Security Alert Consensus, which compiles various security issues/articles in a newsletter (with customizable subjects).

Rick Hellewell 


As of 14 Sept. 2002 @ 16:45 MDT, still works.

ref: "Current Mail" Thursday, September 12, 2002

Dear Jerry,

The new URL for Lavasoft's home page seems to be  . (Assuming I read my scribbles correctly. I downloaded the installer in my administrator account and can't look at that session's history.) "lavasoftusa" doesn't exist. "lavasoft" is a company that, among other things, writes programs for learning Kanji.

Apropros funny movies, have you seen the new "The Importance of being Earnest"? I dragged my kids (daughters, 10 and 13) to it by promising to pay their way into Star Wars II (or -2?) if they didn't like it. I didn't have to pay.

R. G. (also Dr., also Gerry) McKenzie


Subj: Lavasoft

My copy of Ad-Aware claims its home is 

Which accepted connections a day or two ago, but refuses them right this minute.

What the devil is ".nu"??

ICANN says it is "Niue". Big help, that!

But the CIA Factbook at says

"Location: Oceania, island in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Tonga"

Ain't the Internet wunnerful?

Rod Montgomery ==







Dear Jerry,

Installing Windows XP SP1 causes BackUp My PC from Stomp (previously Veritas, previously Seagate) to stop functioning and provide an odd and uninformative "Ordinal 258" error message. The cause is that the registry path is changed to point to a different location than the Start menu shortcuts point to. Uninstalling & reinstalling does not remedy the problem. The fix is to copy all of the files in the "C:\Program Files\Stomp\Backup MyPC\System" directory into "C:\Program Files\Stomp\Backup MyPC". (Assuming the default install location).

One cannot help but to wonder if this is in any way related to the backup software distributed in Windows (95) being once and no longer licensed from Seagate?


JRuff at OperaMail dot com


They are placing a webcam on the shuttle external fuel tank: 

Should make for an interesting view during the next takeoff.

-Dan S.

And from Ed Hume


Extreme cold over South Pole reveals global warming models are wrong

AUCKLAND (AFP) Sep 10, 2002

A discovery that it is much colder over the South Pole than believed has exposed a major flaw in the computer models used to predict global warming, a new scientific paper claims.

US scientists based at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station say they have measured the temperature of the atmosphere 30 to 110 kilometres (18 to 68 miles) over the pole and found it is 20 to 30 degrees Centigrade (36 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit relative) colder than computer models showed.

Various models are used to predict global climate and some assumptions have had to be made, including air temperatures over Antarctica.

< snip >


Dr Pournelle,

For your amusement. 

LEICESTER, England (Reuters) - Mars could resemble the lawless Wild West if privately funded adventurers seeking to exploit the planet get there before government-backed expeditions, a leading British astronomer said on Wednesday.

Before humans make it to Mars, the entire solar system will probably have been explored by flotillas of tiny robotic craft, but within a century there could be a permanent presence on the planet, Sir Martin Rees of the Institute of Astronomy told a science conference.

Once an infrastructure is established the costs of getting to Mars will go down, which could open up the possibility for different types of expeditions.

"If they were governmental or international (expeditions), Antarctic-style restraint might be feasible. On the other hand, if the explorers were privately funded adventurers of free-enterprise, even anarchic disposition, the Wild West model would be more likely to prevail," he said.



Ho ho.

And I found this in looking over some past mail:

I don't have the actual issue on hand, but there was an interesting article on this subject, as I recall it discussed the Mobile part of Heinlein's 'Mobile Infantry'. It even mentioned "Starship Troopers", it was pretty much a blurb but it caught my eye, maybe it qualifies for addition to the discussion?

Science News June 30, 2001 (Vol 159, No. 26 pp401-416) It's on pages 407-408, titled "Dances with Robots"...

heck, here it is on the web, I am such an idiot! 

just re-read the article, the nice thing about the internet vs paper media is you can see some feedback, the letters at the end are somewhat interesting too....

hope this is some use to you.

Love your website.


Which is a pretty good summary of where things are on exoskeletal  armor.





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September 17, 2002

Ad-Aware Site


Reader McKenzie is misinformed, or has subscribed to DNS services from Timothy Leary:) " " and " " both point to the U.S. site for Ad-Aware (apparently hosted at - the route passes through name server and id records are unavailable) and administered by Nicolas Ingo Stark. "" (resolves to: belongs to Lava Software, an (apparently) Australian vendor of software utilities that indeed include Kanji learning aids.

Scott Miller

Thank you

I thought this article on Serial ATA was rather informative: 

It also includes some rather interesting and impressive benchmarks of Segates first ALL Serial-ATA hard drive (i.e. new design, new electronics, etc)

-Dan S.

Thanks!  Also from Dan:


If you have a Pioneer DVD-R unit (odds are you do or know someone who does) then they need to know about this firmware update NOW!

Severe permanent damage could result if this update is not run when someone inserts a 4X DVD-R or a 2X DVD-RW (not on the store shelfs...yet but soon)

-Dan S.

 >__ > >Greetings to all DVD Listers: > >Today we announced that there is an issue with all existing Pioneer DVR-A03 >and DVR-A04 series DVD-R/RW drives, as well as the DVR-7000 and PRV-9000 >(U.S. market only) set-top DVD Video recorders. The issue is that when >blank, unrecorded 4X DVD-R and 2X DVD-RW media is inserted into these >products, they may become confused and non-responsive. In some cases, if >the drive or recorder is allowed to remain in this non-responsive condition >for too long, damage to the unit's optical pickup may occur. > >The new 4X DVD-R and 2X DVD-RW discs are not yet on the market, and will >probably not be until sometime in October. This is NOT a problem with the >new media - it's a Pioneer product issue only. All existing DVD-R and >DVD-RW media will continue to work as it always has on our products. This >issue does NOT affect anyone who has a RAM/R drive or +RW/+R product. > >We STRONGLY urge everyone who has any of the following Pioneer products to >log onto our website to either download a free firmware update (computer >drives) or request an upgrade disc to be sent to them (computer drives and >video recorders): > >DVR-A03 drive >DVR-A04 drive >DVR-103 drive >DVR-104 drive >DVR-7000 video recorder >PRV-9000 video recorder > >The website address is:  U.S. customers >can also call 800-421-1623 to order an update disc if you prefer. Users in >other regions of the world may wish to check on their respective Pioneer >websites (e.g., for Europe) for firmware update >information. > >NOTE that our OEM customers are fully aware of this situation, and that we >expect resolutions to be provided by them soon. > >I want to personally apologize for any inconvenience this situation may >cause to any of you. I encourage everyone to take a moment to update their >drives and recorders at your very earliest convenience to avoid any >problems once the new high speed media becomes available. > >Best regards, > >Andy Parsons >SVP, Pioneer Electronics (USA), Inc. >_____________ 


We also have:

Hi, Dr. Pournelle --

You may want to advise your readers to be wary about installing SP1 for Internet Explorer 6. I installed it and now images do not show, only placeholders. Tried all the obvious fixes, and nothing. Now to try to find someone in MS support ...


And this is not the first problem we have seen with this. I don't use IE 6 and I am not at all sure anyone should. Ie6 SP-1 appears to break my wife's reading program and many other programs. I do not advise its use.

Hi Jerry, Just read your column on the new Tablet PCs and thought immediately of a client's Model 100's still in use today -- can't talk them out of 'em! They are used to calculate payments and to then print financial and insurance contracts.

First, they are instant on -- really. Second, they never fail or crash. Third, they are programmed in a dialect of BASIC that doesn't require a lifetime dedicated to Microsoft (stab!, stab!, stab!). Fourth, they take up very little office space.

The only downside is that I have to export and import through the serial port to an old Mac SI to renumber the program every few years! -- ZBASIC won't run on anything newer than that (and only ZBASIC knows about line numbers in the Macintosh world).

I don't know, Jerry... build in a CD-RW and add a few meg of RAM and you might find new life for a... "Tandy 103"!!! <grin>

I remember you liked yours way back when... (uh oh, I've just dated myself again).

-John G. Hackett

Actually I used the NEC PC-2010 I believe was the designation; it was the NEC version of the PC-100 anyway. And I loved it.

Hi Jerry 

Are you surprised to see this coming? Iraq is going to play the UN like a bad fiddle.

I wonder how long it will be before Sadam uses nuclear blackmail to avoid the US threat. Just how close is he really? Will the first nuclear device used against another country be Israel, rather than the US?

- Paul

The phrase "Kill them all, let God sort them out." has its origins in the 13th century. See the following links for more information 

The phrase comes from the Albigensian crusade. "I have ordered the soldiers to kill them all. God will know his own."  It is apparently authentic and was included in  a report on the successful completion of the siege.





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September 18, 2002

Begin with some warnings.

I wanted to pass on my experience with Microsoft's Windows XP Service Pack 1 which per Microsoft's descriptive is designed to, "provide the latest security, reliability, and performance updates to the Windows XP family of operating systems. Windows XP SP1 is designed to ensure Windows XP platform compatibility with newly released software and hardware, and includes updates that resolve issues that were discovered by customers or by Microsoft's internal testing team."

There's only one problem that I have encountered, it services your system, in a most unserviceable and troublesome manner. Upon rebooting, after taking nearly one hour with a cable modem to download, I encountered the following error, repeatedly - C:/$MFT is corrupt and unreadable, run chkdsk utility.

I dutifully did so, five times to no avail. While it does not lock your system up it does slow it down. After the fifth attempt I removed the update from my system. To add insult to injury Microsoft's crack support team has yet, 48 hours later and counting, to respond to my e-mail pointing this little problem out.

So, moral of the story, beware this Service Pack.

Regards, Mark Slover


Well, I *can* see pictures, in contrast to your earlier correspondent. But Yahoo! Groups (web-based) & Mail are now broken (mail entirely, groups partially).

I simply can't log in to mail using IE 6 w/SP1. Can log in to groups, but only intermittently, and every few messages I get a blank screen with "Aren't you supposed to be somewhere else?" which is a bit creepy.

Obviously, Yahoo! Mail itself is not effected, as I am sending this to you through such an account (using Netscape 4.78).

Makes me SOOOO happy my employer just picked IE as the new standard browser....

Why doesn't MICROSOFT subscribe to your adage of "We do this, so you don't have to?"



(edited and updated - problem is not XP SP1)

dot net framework SP 2 kills CD emulation.

I own CD based games that use a key disk or that store game data on their CD. But I don't like using the CD in my laptop. The CD player is slow, runs uncomfortably hot, and kills the battery.

I purchased a CD emulator from Paragon that lets me load CDs into Windows and play them without the CD player installed in my laptop.

This no longer works. I suspect that this is part of my licensing agreement that allows MS to destroy programs that they believe are unworthy. (update) I was able to restore my CD emulation by backing out to my last daily checkpoint in "system restore". After the backout, my web stock portfolio site didn't work. Since the backout mentioned a bunch of java files, I decided to reload Java from scratch, after which both the stock graphs and the CD emulation work.

The service pack is described at 

Greg Goss

(mailing address is public)


Which should be warning enough. I confess I haven't had a chance to do much with this.  I'll try when I recover.

Another warning, from Roland: even Linux is vulnerable if you are asleep at the switch:

These fixes have been out for months . . . this is the first time something of this magnitude has happened with Linux, but lazy admins will get you every time:

Note that the OpenSSL exploits are multi-platform; this particular worm requires Linux, but it's quite possible to do similar things on Solaris, AIX, *BSD, etc. Web servers if OpenSSL hasn't been updated and a cleverly-crafted worm can exploit it in order to get a foot in the door to try various sorts of penetration techniques. All *NIX sysadmins should immediately update their OpenSSL libs, if they haven't done so already! 

------ Roland Dobbins 

On another subject entirely, Ed Hume sends:

Don't know how accurate this is, but it will be interesting, as old KGB info comes out, to see the truth at last (if truth it is):


September 16, 2002; Sacred Secrets: How Soviet Intelligence Operations Changed American History, a new book by Jerrold and Leona Schecter, documents that Soviet espionage in the US was even more widespread than believed, and had serious effects on the US. The book rejects, disproves, and destroys the revision theories of the 80s and 90s that Soviet espionage was minor and irrelevant and that most of those accused of spying were in fact innocent. Using newly-declassified US documents and recently-obtained KGB archives, the book shows that:

@ The Rosenbergs were indeed Soviet spies, as was Alger Hiss.

@ Most of those "falsely accused" by the McCarthyites (including the much-maligned Whitacker Chambers) were, in fact, Soviet spies, assets, or sources.

@ US nuclear bomb scientist J Robert Oppenheimer was not just a Soviet asset, feeding them information on the US nuclear program, but went out of his way to arrange for other Soviet spies to be hired for key government agencies.

@ Harry Dexter White, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and author of the post-war plans for Germany, was a major Soviet asset who provided information to other Soviet spies he had maneuvered into key government jobs. White went to great efforts to cause tension between the US and Japan in the late 30s in a bid to stop the planned Japanese invasion of Siberia.

@ President Harry Truman deliberately covered up evidence of the true extent of Soviet spying out of fear it would cost the Democratic Party the 1952 elections. The authors show that despite claims to the contrary by Democrats, Truman was fully briefed on the Verona Transcripts, a series of intercepted KGB communications from the late 40s which were kept secret until a few years ago. Truman reportedly doubted that the Verona transcripts could have been accurate; it has since been confirmed that they were completely accurate.--Stephen V Cole

I am not so certain of all those "facts". Certainly Rosenberg boasted of being "Stalin's Soldier" and Harry Dexter White was pretty well guilty as charged; as was Alger Hiss. There isn't much doubt that Chambers had been a Soviet agent: he says so in his book, Witness, (and his much better book, Cold Friday, tells something of why he joined the Communists, and later left them thinking he was leaving the winning side to come back to the West).

Oppenheimer was certainly naive, and was probably convinced that the world would be a better place if the USSR had the bomb as well as the US. Truman is a far more complicated matter, and I for one would hesitate to accuse him of anything worse than being dead wrong. After all, the best people were for Alger Hiss, who got all kinds of important people as character witnesses. Venona was real, but it was also complicated, and without considerable study of the documents you could believe that some of it wasn't correct. How much time Truman had to study these matters isn't clear.

For that era, I still think the best source is Buckley's quasi-novel The Red Hunter.

On Ebooks:


I just read your September 16 Byte column. Your comments on e-books prompted me to write you for the first time, which is strange considering Ive been reading your column and books with great enjoyment for decades.

I've been flying from Omaha, Nebraska to Freeport, Texas to work since May of 2001. I originally carried my IBM laptop with me, but the post September 11airport security makes that a very painful experience, especially considering the amount of travel I do.

So I bought a Compaq IPAQ and have been delighted overall. I dont have to put the IPAQ through the metal detector separately, and its small enough to fit easily in my single carry-on bag. Best of all, I bought a 128 MB CF card and have enough room for enough books to keep me satisfied for weeks.

It did take a while to get used to reading an e-book on the relatively small IPAQ screen (finally breaking down and getting bifocal glasses helped) but now it's completely natural. While using a Tablet PC to read my e-books might be a better reading experience, lugging around all that extra space and weight would be a step back for me. I guess it just comes down to an individual balancing capability against the cost in size and weight  for me the IPAQ really hit the sweet spot.

While I agree that most e-book versions of current novels tend to be overly expensive, there are exceptions. One of my major sources of good e-books at a fair price is Baen books. In fact, I just purchased an e-book from them you might be familiar with  The Prince by S.M. Sterling and some other guy. A very fair price and an excellent read.

Thanks for all the good reading over the years,

Mike Guzman

I find the Compaq bright enough but small; perhaps I'll work on learning better. But now when I travel I tend to take the Explorer and as much computer as I want. I don't intend to subject myself to the oafs who control airport security. I'm afraid I will make an objective comment on their efficiency and activities and end up in jail.

Ordnung! Your papers, please.

And on a more philosophical plane,

I found this very interesting; I think you would too. 

I have to agree with his conclusion -- it should but won't happen. It reminds me of something Heinlein wrote in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistriss" about democracy. I don't remember it well enough to quote here and I don't have my copy handy.

Gregory W. Brewer 

He makes a good case for the repeal of the 17th Amendment. As for me, I'd repeal it in an instant. The problem with democracies is that they rarely approve measures that are good for democracy as an institution. The genius of the original Constitution of 1789 was its balance between Federal and State power.

If you can leave it to the states, do so; and having Senators selected by state legislatures and thus having them somewhat insulated from having to campaign and raise money is, I think, a Good Thing.















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A bit under the weather. Sorry.







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Friday, September 20, 2002

Hi Jerry,

I've included a link to an article I thought you might appreciate. It's more fuel for the Republic and Empire discussion:

Evidently free and anonymous access to information is not something the FBI is comfortable with. Obviously they haven't heard of Barnes and Noble, Project Gutenberg, or the Internet.

Slouching towards Empire, day by day.

Really enjoy your column, and enjoy your fiction even moreso.


Aaron Ortiz

Well I think we started the Republic vs. Empire debate that everyone is involved in now.  Good. Now can we start the:

What could we do with all the money the war would cost? Could we solve many of the world's problems by developing space energy and industries, and incidentally space defenses for the US, and finance that on what we would save by not invading Iraq?

What does it cost to keep divisions in Korea, Germany, troops in Bosnia and Kossovo, troops in the Sinai? What will it cost to send an army to Iraq? And keep it there while we try to build a nation of Kurds, Sunni, and Ismaili's, of Arabs and Aramaic and old Aryan and -- well you get the idea. It will be expensive. And we can anger the Kurds or we can anger the Turks, but I don't see how we can keep both happy. Perhaps I am insufficiently ingenious.

But I do know how to get electric power from space. And I do know that a great deal of the economy depends on the price of energy...








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Saturday, September 21, 2002

We have a number of reports of trouble free SP-1 installations.

Good morning Dr P, re Win XP SP1. I do desktop admin for a, in New Zealand terms, medium sized Company. I have installed Win XP SP1 on 8 XP Pro machines so far both laptops and desktops, at home and at work. I have to report that in these cases there have been no problems at all. No machines have refused to boot and no software has been crippled. I must point out that I am a great believer in ensuring that machines are working OK prior to SP installation. If a machine has problems, other than bugs specifically addressed in the Service Pack, installing the SP, or doing an OS upgrade, will often make the problems worse. I have also slipstreamed SP1 into the XP install CD and have had no problems building machines with SP1 integrated. Your mileage may vary.

One interesting point about SP1 is that if you need a Java Virtual Machine under XP installing SP1 is the only way to get it. Microsoft disabled Install On Demand for the Win XP JVM in July following legal action by Sun.


Gordon Jackson, NZCE, MCSE Engineer, Infrastructure Support



I suppose for the sake of balance and democracy I should report that I have installed SP-1 for Windows XP and have experienced no problems. My machine continues to be as solid as rock.

I will note for the record that some of the security and privacy settings used by Internet Exploder had to be reset manually. The install defaults are more restrictive than before and can display some peculiar behavior in regard to cookies, scripts and other dynamic content. I advise checking and verifying all IE settings before releasing an updated machine for general use. In my case, I've pretty much switched to Opera but keep IE available for sites like my Credit Union that won't work without IE proper. BTW, all of these continue to work fine after the update.

It appears, from the limited information available, that your correspondent Slover is experiencing some form of disk corruption. There are several similar reports on the Microsoft Newsgroup for XP. The recommended fix is to boot from the install CD and run the restore facility against the Windows partition (the restore facility is the one that comes up the SECOND time setup offers a restore option...the first merely gives you a "console" that bears a striking resemblance to a DOS box and isn't much help. Unless you need a DOS box).

SP-1's installer may overwrite some necessary third-party drivers a RAID machine and improperly initialize the disk subsystem in others. This is a problem with SP-1 to be sure and while recovery is possible and not particularly noxious it should be unnecessary.

One would think after all these years the folk wisdom warning any significant change to a Microsoft operating system ought to be done in the context of a reformat and clean install would have dispatched to myth. Does not seem to be the case. My advice for anyone needing the service pack (and if you run XP you need the service pack) is to backup critical data (don't forget the IE favorites) and format, install, apply the service pack and validate the system before reinstalling applications.

Installing Microsoft Office as a network store to a different partition during the initial setup helps to reduce the pain of subsequent installations. If you do this Office can be reinstalled without having to find the distribution CDs or product keys. It also goes very quickly when executed from the hard disk. The Outlook .PST is a pain and compound potential hazard but it sure makes it easy to put all your data back into a new Office installation.

I have also compiled a CD holding the distribution files for my current set of downloaded applications and utilities (and written serial numbers and install codes there as well.) Having them on one disk is convenient.

As an aside, my spousal unit hates Science Fiction. Generally won't touch it with a stick. Well, last night she insisted that I write and tell you she loved The Burning City and can't wait for Burning Tower. Yet more kudos for you and Larry. She can be a tough critic...she tossed Clancy's latest on the barbecue after about 30 pages. I've started her on the wonderful collection of all of Arthur Clarke's short stories that I bought last year and may make a convert of her yet.

Regards Ron Morse


And there is this to think about:

Science News

Week of Aug. 17, 2002; Vol. 162, No. 7

Nature's Own: Ocean yields gases that had seemed humanmade

Sid Perkins

Chemical analyses of seawater provide the first direct evidence that the ocean may be a significant source of certain atmospheric gases that scientists had previously assumed to be produced primarily by industrial activity.

The two gases-methyl nitrate and ethyl nitrate-are members of a group called alkyl nitrates. Such substances consist of a nitrate ion chemically bonded to a hydrocarbon molecule that's lost one of its hydrogen atoms. Forest fires and the burning of fossil fuels produce alkyl nitrates, which react with other atmospheric gases in sunlight to form urban smog (SN: 6/1/02, p. 346: ). Alkyl nitrates also influence the amount of ozone in the lower atmosphere over remote ocean areas, says Peter S. Liss, an atmospheric scientist at the University of East Anglia in Norfolk, England.

During extended cruises from England to the South Atlantic Ocean, Liss and his colleagues measured the concentrations of methyl and ethyl nitrates in samples of surface and deep water, as well as in air samples collected over the waves. In places, especially where cool, nutrient-rich waters rise from the deep, the water is supersaturated with the dissolved nitrates, the scientists found. At some sites along the equator, the water holds more than eight times the amount of the methyl and ethyl nitrates than would be present at saturation for the observed temperatures and pressures. The researchers report their findings in the Aug. 16 Science.

The supersaturation of nitrates is strong evidence that the gases are being produced in the ocean and aren't being pulled from the air into the water, says Elliot Atlas, an atmospheric chemist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

"It's been hard to convince some chemists that the ocean could be a significant source of these chemicals," says Atlas. "This research should do it."

Liss and his team aren't sure how the alkyl nitrates are generated in the ocean. The methyl and ethyl nitrates appear to be produced by different mechanisms. Methyl nitrate concentrations are highest in surface waters, where sunlight-absorbing phytoplankton form the base of the ocean's food chain. However, the concentrations of ethyl nitrate are also pronounced at depths below 100 meters, where little sunlight reaches.

References and Sources


Chuck, A.L., S.M. Turner, and P.S. Liss. 2002. Direct evidence for a marine source of C1 and C2 alkyl nitrates. Science 297(Aug. 16):1151-1154. Abstract available at

Further Readings:

Gorman, J. 2002. The air that's up there. Science News 161(Jun. 1):346-348. Available to subscribers at .


Elliot Atlas Atmospheric Chemistry Division National Center for Atmospheric Research P.O. Box 3000 Boulder, CO 80307

Peter S. Liss University of East Anglia School of Environmental Sciences Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ United Kingdom 

From Science News, Vol. 162, No. 7, Aug. 17, 2002, p. 102.

Copyright (c) 2002 Science Service. All rights reserved.



And on another matter:

Dear Dr. Pournelle,

I just finished reading Volume IV of "THE ENDLESS FRONTIER: Life Among the Asteroids" in witch Eric Drexler thinks the Asteroids are the better resource and we aught to head off there first and not be bothered with the Moon and you take the opposite view.

I think we will have to go to the moon first just to learn HOW to refine ore in zero gee, as there is a big difference between thinking and doing. Problems to solve include: 1) How big a mirror. Most metals melt at over 1000 C. That will take several acres of mirror (more, out in the Asteroids) to keep pointed at one spot. (Mylar stiffened with inflated ribs?) 2) How small do you need to crush the ore for processing? 3) The crucible, what type of material, shape, and size of do you need? 4) Will you need an inert gas to help heat conduction? 5) How do you separate the metal from the slag? Do you spin the crucible? If so how do you decouple it from the mirror assembly? Or do you spin the whole thing and have artificial gravity and live on the back of the mirror. (One man's slag is another mans building material) 6) Once you have a batch melted, how does the next batch get into position? (Its out at the focal point of the big mirror) or is there some way for a continuous process? 7) There may be more than one type of metal, how do you separate them? 8) Assuming the ore has water or gases, how do we get it away from contaminating the batch, and recover it for later use?

That is just the start of it, it still needs to be built, MAJOR construction (think logistics of getting it built out there.), and tested and a few shakedown runs so you know what kinds of spares to take. Nothing lasts forever and if it moves it wears out, especially at high temp.

Steve Martz

I said 30 years ago that I know how to get to the Moon and keep people alive there, but I do not know how to get them to the asteroids. I know how to build a self-sustaining colony on the Moon. I am fairly certain I do not know how to build one on an asteroid.

This is not to say we cannot learn; but the obvious first extra-territorial home for humanity is the Moon. Eventually we will learn how to make use of the asteroids and the other planets. Eventually may not even be a long time. But first we need to learn to get to space economically, then to stay there, and after that to explore the rest of the solar system.

We'll do it. What language those who go will speak isn't so clear.

Dear Dr Pournelle,

Getting people to the moon is hard. To Mars is harder, to the Belt harder still. But why bother?

We should bring asteroids or comets to us, in low Earth orbit. They would make great fuel dumps or structural material (all that CHON and sideritic iron). They could be small enough to convert into the next space station (2002 MN, 100m diameter), or used as a source of rocket fuel instead of hauling the stuff up Earth's gravity well.

You will remember the recent near-miss asteroid, "2002 NT7" which passed by in mid-August, is next due at 2019, and might actually hit the planet in 2060. There are numerous others, like 1950 DA, which far from being a threat should in my view be seen as opportunities.

Some weeks ago the local satellite TV company (Sky) put on a documentary looking into the evolution of the solar system. It observed that in a billion years or so the sun would expand, heating the oceans 'to a rolling boil', and discussed the use of powered asteroids tugging the Earth gradually to a 'higher' orbit. That broadcast had me reconsidering the uses of asteroids. Such a feat requires reversing the 'slingshot' technique for adding energy to probe trajectories on their way out of the solar system.

My stage II Astrophysics course notes (1975, Canterbury Uni.) were pretty sketchy on the energetics of orbital mechanics, but eventually I worked out that while most asteroids have far too much orbital energy to be brought to a parking orbit with present technology, it is a different matter for those approaching Earth from behind.

I see no reason why a small ion motor should not be installed on such near-miss asteroids. Something like this will have to be done anyway to prevent the 2060 encounter from being terminal. Instead of pushing an asteroid away from Earth, bring it close enough (300km?) to land on. Small ones can be consumed. Big ones can be bases. They have enough inertia to anchor a sky ladder, and the strength-of-materials requirements for web tethers are not looking quite so impossible as they once did (monocrystalline diamond, forsooth).

Other possibilities include a bus service to the moon. Get the orbit right and a 200m asteroid will endlessly loop around the Earth, then the moon, then the Earth again. It would require correction from time to time, so would probably need a base. But you get the idea, and your correspondent Steve Martz has more of them. Shaping these things is not too hard. You wouldn't stiffen mylar mirrors with inflated ribs, you would use a shape memory alloy, but otherwise that's the obvious technique. A mirror wouldn't needed to be coupled to a crucible (such as a stony asteroid) at all. You probably wouldn't crush the ore, sideritic iron can be extremely pure, but if you wanted tiny little pieces I suppose one could arrange a collision (then mine the rings). Delivery to Earth? Put on retro-rockets and tell the inhabitants of central Australia to watch their heads. Separate the metals on the ground.

Earth-based engineering methods aren't necessarily a good guide to best space practice. One thing I would do (after an orbital base and fuel mine) would be to make a hole in an asteroid - the mirror should be able to handle that. Then cantilever a kilometre of track through the resulting torus, and whoopee, a linear accelerator. Or heat an iron asteroid till it glows white, thrust a tube to the centre, pump water in, and watch the steam bubble inflate your new habitat/spacecraft. Spin it for gravity.

Regards, TC

-- Terry Cole BA/BSc/BE/BA(hons) ( System Administrator, Dept. of Maths. & Stats., Otago Uni. PO Box 56, Dunedin, NZ.

To do that would require that you know how to go live on an asteroid for a while. We'll learn that and we will learn about mass drivers and such. But we better learn to live in space first.

I have a question re your remark 'So perhaps it is well, once in a while, to realize the consequences of "Socialism in one "country"...'.

First up, I am no communist. In fact, I consider the inherent evils of capitalism to be far less than those of any other economic system yet devised by Man.

But Socialism is not an economic system, it is a social philosophy. I was taught at University (if I understood my teachers correctly) that the essence of Socialism is captured in Marx's phrase 'to each according to his needs, from each according to his means'. The essence of Communism, otoh, is encapsulated in the phrase 'the control by the State of the means of production'.

While nearly everyone now considers Communism to be a failed experiment, it seems to me that Socialism is alive and well throughout the Western world - in fact, socialist objectives are found in the manifestos of almost every Western political party, including the US Republican party. Any bill that tries to raise the standard of living of the poor using the taxes of the rich, or any taxation system which incorporates a sliding scale of tax rates (as do those of all Western countries afaik) is surely intrinsically socialist.

My question is: in your sentence which I quoted in the first line of this letter, did you really mean to say "Communist' rather than 'Socialist'? If not, what exactly are your definitions of Communism and Socialism?


Julian Treadwell

I meant to say "Socialism in one country" because that is what Lenin said, and Stalin said after him. Those were their words, and you make a distinction that others try to make and perhaps rightly so; but it was not a distinction the revolutionaries made. The phrase they used for soft socialists unwilling to understand the revolution was "useful idiots."

"In a world in which the state is the sole employer, dissent mean starvation." Tell me who said that, please.

And of course there are "middle way" attempts, as in Scandinavia. Perhaps it all works, although the difference between "control of the means of production" and control of all the output of the system through regulation and redistribution may not be all that great.

Old timer here.

Map to H. Beam Piper's Federation. Drove to Hosigoscon where they gave me an hour by myself. Carr sent me the Return of Space Viking script and I kept sending it back to him one chapter at a time, expanded. Etc.

At the end of Starswarm you say "The End".

End of the first part, more likely.

The Starwarm are just as dangerous to humans economically, as Piper's Fuzzies are psycho-symbiotically.

If Starswarm were to be taken to other worlds....

What would civilization be like without manufacturing and the price of goods dropping dramatically as one starswarm can compete with another starswarm?

The alternate view is: Can one company survive godhood without eventual corruption?

Either choice deserves a sequel.

William Taylor G. F. Armoury Books 5


and Michael Flynn says:

Ignore previous e-mail. Never depend on memory. Here is the citation:

"Not so long ago a [French] television broadcast reported as historical the famous words: "Kill them all, God will recognize his own," at the time of the massacre of Beziers in 1209. Now it has been more than a hundred years (it was precisely in 1866) since a scholar demonstrated, and without any difficulty, that the sentence... is not found in any of the historical sources for that period but only in the Dialogue on Miracles (Diagolus Miraculorum), whose title gives a sufficient idea what it is about, composed some sixty years after the event by the German monk Caesarius of Heisterbach, an author endowed with an ardent imagination and very little concern for historical authenticity. No historian since 1866 has subscribed to the famous "Kill them all;" but story writers still use it, and that is enough to prove how slow scientific acquisitions are in this regard to penetrate the public domain."

-- Regine Pernoud, Those Terrible Middle Ages! (Ignatius, San Francisco, 2000), p. 19. Translated from the 1977 French edition by Anne Englund Nash.

Which may be correct; I have not gone beyond secondary sources. Interesting.

It was my understanding -- and indeed the author of the account I read said it explicitly -- that the phrase was in a report written by the bishop in charge of matters spiritual, and was "I have ordered the soldiers to kill them all. God will know His own." It sounded a terrible thing to say, yet it wasn't beyond belief.

Dr Pournelle

Re: Bepublic and Empire

As a reader of yours for some time now, I thought you might appreciate this URL from the UK Guardian as a contribution to the debate on republic and empire:,12271,794163,00.html 

Many thanks for what is probably one of the very best sites on the internet.

Christopher Woolfrey, United Kingdom

Thank you.

" This poem has haunted me since high school"

The "Hound of Heaven" chased me down years ago. Truly an incredible poem, but aptly describes the God who never quits the chase for those He pursues.


Jim Brown







This week:


read book now


Sunday, September 22, 2002

I will leave the following here, but since the answer got so long and went into so many areas that need exploration, I will open a page for this and the inevitable discussion.

Well the question was rhetorical, but I got a good answer:

It began with a letter and a reply: 

Dear Dr. Pournelle,

"In a country where the sole employer is the State, opposition means death by slow starvation. The old principle: Who does not work does not eat, has been replaced by a new one: Who does not obey shall not eat." -Leon Trotsky

This applies equally to Fascism as it does to Communism. Both grant the State total control over the means of production and the output. The only real difference is that under Fascism, the paper title to property is privately held (for what it's worth), whereas under Communism all property is owned by the State. Not much of a difference, really...


Gordon Runkle

-- "Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." -- Theodore Roosevelt

It is fashionable to emphasize the similarities between Communism and Fascism, and I have indulged in it myself. There was even a period when anti-communists used rhetoric like "Black flag fascism and red flag fascism," largely because the leftist "popular front" movements against fascism had made fascism so unpopular that calling communism "red fascism" was useful. (And of course the Communists  used to call the Social Democrats "social fascists" for much the same reason.)

In fact, though, there are considerable differences in the ideologies. Both have their roots in Marxism and the concept of class warfare. Both consider class warfare inevitable: both think the natural progression of society is for the rich to get richer while the poor get, if not poorer, then at least not richer at the same rate, so that the society eventually ends up with most of the wealth in the hands of a comparatively small number of people; and this generates class warfare which will destroy the society.

The Marxist solution to this problem is a classless society, and that will be achieved through the elimination of the upper class. When that is accomplished, the State, which was no more than the protection racket mechanism by which the wealthy kept their gains, will wither away. Note that I didn't say "ill gotten" gains: formal Marxism doesn't make value judgments of that sort. The rich got richer because that's the way societies evolve. Now true enough the Communist Party may employ all kinds of value laden charges against the ruling classes, but this is a political tactic, using bourgeois values against the bourgeois; no real Communist believes in bourgeois morality in the first place. One is on the side of history or one is against it, and only the Communist Party, imperfect as it is, has a scientific view of history and can make use of correct historical science. (And yes, we all now see the inherent contradiction here that takes ones morality from historical inevitability yet tries to influence history: but oddly enough, a large generation of Western intellectuals did not see that, and many who don't see it remain in universities particularly in American English departments.)

Fascism accepts that analysis of the problem but rejects the solution of eliminating the classes. The classes are inevitable (perhaps Pareto influenced Mussolini in that regard although Pareto certainly was no Fascist.) Fascism thus accepts the State as necessary. It won't wither away, and indeed, is the fountain of political order. Without it we would all be lost in endless class warfare. 

The solution to the problem is to force the classes to cooperate, and to that end we do not need or want Lenin's Dictatorship of the Proletariat, but a legitimate State, one with glory, laud, and honor which all obey joyfully, led by a Leader who communes with history and embodies the virtues of the perfect State, and who is advised by councils and institutions drawn from all classes and all of the natural elements of the State: labor unions, Church, Army and Navy, the tireless and efficient civil service, peasants in the field and workers in the factories, owners and managers alike, all working together like the fingers of the hand (phalanges) to form a unified state: a bundle of sticks, each breakable separately, but when bound together are strong enough to endure: and into which has been bound an axe to show that the State has the final authority. 

You may see this symbol in the US House of Representatives: the President is flanked by fasces when he presents the State of the Union address, although the Framers wisely did not have lictors bearing fasces as symbolic bodyguards to the President. (Some Framers wanted such things, as some wanted the President to be addressed through grand titles rather than as 'Mr. President'; but John Adams would have none of that, and his stern New England views prevailed.)

Rather than abolish the various institutions of the classes, Fascism seeks their cooperation: each will be represented in the Grand Council of the State. Army and Church and Unions and managers and great land owners and small holders and peasants and day laborers will all have their views represented in a Council that presents recommendations to The Leader, who will choose the proper advice and act for the good of all; and if he does not, he can be replaced by that Council (as in fact Mussolini was: he was deposed by his own Council, and the King sent a Colonel of Carabinieri to inform him that he was no longer Il Duce, but a private citizen, and Italy would surrender to the Allies.)

Fascism, in other words, is a form of "socialism" that seeks to end class warfare by requiring the classes to work together, the rich to help the poor (preferably voluntarily) while all are bound by loyalty to the State, which needs to earn that loyalty by providing glory and honor and grand buildings and great institutions, great celebrations and victories in war.

Now of course I have taken their own words and presented their theories in as favorable a light as I can; but the fact remains that Fascism is a far different animal from Communism. Huey Long knew that, as he knew that many of Roosevelt's ideas and institutions were straight out of the Fascist playbook: The NRA Blue Eagle; the various AAA agricultural councils with their allocations and orders (some of them exist and are enforced to this day) drawn up not by legislatures but by the orange growing, and pig raising, etc., associations; the CCC; etc., all Fascist, and Huey Long said so. It infuriated Roosevelt, largely because it was true. 

Now all political schemes are capable of corruption, and Fascism is very much one of those: it has too few checks and balances, and relies too much on a Leader who really is just and wise and ought to have Four Terms or even be President for Life. In Germany it was never tried: German National Socialism wasn't Fascist to begin with, and Mussolini famously and often said so. He thought Hitler a boor and a clown, and the Nazi Party a gang of thugs without political theory who made a mockery of fascism, and did reduce the various institutions in the nation to mere nothings, ownership to paper formalities, and so forth. But Mussolini chose the wrong side in the war, and soon found that for all his political theory his political life was dependent on his German allies. Italian arms could not prevail, and while individual units fought bravely, many couldn't surrender fast enough. My libertarian friend Emil Franzi says he is related to a former general "who surrendered two acres of soldiers to a backfiring Jeep." 

Meanwhile the various "anti-fascist" leagues put together by the Communists, their allies, sympathizers, and "useful idiots" made the very word anathema. I don't mean here that all anti-Fascists were part of that coalition; but many were, so that the United States found itself in the 30's divided intellectually between those who were pretty well led around by the nose by the Communists through their front groups, and that odd coalition that variously called itself "America First" and "For America", which soon found itself influenced by a coalition of not only Fascists, but Nazis with their racial theories. The right was afraid the US would be drawn into yet another war in Europe, which would cause us to raise taxes, centralize our government, turn the District of Columbia from a sleepy Southern town into an Imperial Capital and These United States into The United States. 

And whereas Mussolini began as a leftist labor leader, and thus built his Fascist state with considerable attention to how it would play to the masses, in the United States the America First and For America organizations (quite different those two although I haven't time to go into that) were country club Republicans for the most part. Huey Long was a Fascist leader on the Mussolini model, and what might have happened had he not been assassinated is an interesting speculation.

And I probably have gone on long enough: time to get to the point.

We believe, as Francis Fukuyama said, that The End of History has arrived. We think that Liberal Democracy is the endpoint of history, and that the class war will end through assimilation of all who matter into the middle class. Aristotle would have approved of the liberal democratic state: having studied some 200 city states around the Mediterranean ( an early sociologist with actual data) he concluded that the best states were those ruled by their middle class, and he defined middle class as "those who possess the goods of fortune in moderation."

We all like that, and we wish it would happen. We want to install liberal democratic regimes everywhere: we did so at the point of a bayonet in Germany and Japan, and we are pleased with our work.

The problem is that liberal democracy works in places with enough unity and stability that the loser of an election is willing to lose and submit. Losing an election doesn't mean losing your life, or your way of life. It isn't ruin. We trust our neighbors not to use their political power to destroy their opposition, and the dirty tricks of democracy are themselves kept within bounds -- vote fraud, fund raising tricks, lies about the opponents -- and don't extend to breaking up the other guy's meetings with bully boys and castor oil, or sending his leaders to concentration camps. 

And those conditions don't prevail everywhere. They didn't in Spain: Franco may well have been the best thing the Spanish could have got at the time. If you doubt me, read George Orwell who fought against Franco and think on his observations and conclusions; and anyway, my point is that Spain was too deeply divided in 1937 to be a single country, and even today there are serious Basque elements who don't submit to the results of fair elections.  Northern Ireland is another such land: and those are here in the West. Turn now to Former Yugoslavia. And that too is in Europe. Go now to Afghanistan, which was never a nation, and which has elements in it that will never submit to a unitary state that obeys the will of a majority. And examine Iraq: what will we put in there?

Go to any state that faces the prospects of Islamic Law if the popular majority gets its way. Look at Algeria.

The fact is that history has not ended, not everywhere, and liberal democracy is not the solution to everyone's problems.

And given the way we have decided to emphasize the differences among our peoples while simultaneously destroying the federal union in favor of a unitary national state, it may not forever be the solution to ours. Marx was wrong about many things, but he drew from many others, and his prediction that the rich would get richer much faster than the general population would get richer, and that would generate class warfare, isn't his alone. David McCord Wright has concluded that without the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and its enforcement in the late 19th and most of the 20th Centuries, the United States would have gone that route as well; and contemporary newspapers confirm that the discrepancy between rich and middle class is large and getting larger.

Class warfare coupled with cultural differences that are being emphasized and made more, rather than less, important may yet move us toward the most traditional solution to the problem of a national State divided by deep divisions: Empire and worship of the Emperor as symbol of the State. It was that, oddly enough, that the more intellectual of the Fascists sought to avoid. They ended with Mussolini, a comic opera Duce. Another group ended with Hitler and his gang of thugs. Compared to those, Caesar Augustus looks pretty good.

(copied to its own page, where replies will also go). writes:

> If the Genocide Convention is thought inadequate to justify a unilateral > invasion of Iraq, what alternative legal basis can be found?

In 1999, we already established the precedent of attacking without provocation an independent nation (Yugoslavia) solely on the basis of what it was doing within its internationally recognized borders. We've seen that in that case that might not only makes right, might makes write - not only do the victors write the history, they rewrite the history to say that the ethnic cleansing began before the bombing, instead of the other way around.

Obviously, this precedent gives regimes that may have to violently put down an internal rebellion in the future, an encouragement to develop their own nuclear deterrent against American attacks.

In the special case of Iraq, however, the U.S. has a much stronger case in that the Iraqis signed a deal in 1991 to prevent their conquest, but they have been violating many provisions of the deal ever since. However, the unique nature of that situation has made that reasonably casus belli unpopular with the war party, since the precedent wouldn't justify future attacks on countries like Iran or Syria.

Steve Sailer

Indeed. Mr. Sailer and I had a very long hike the other day, which I much enjoyed, and he is quite my favorite movie reviewer...

Subject: who do you trust?

The Chinese communist government is hacking the web sites of opponents. Just another escalation in the war against freedom of thought...
  -- --- Harry Erwin, PhD, Senior Lecturer of Computing, University of Sunderland. Computational neuroscientist modeling bat bioacoustics and behavior. <>

Indeed. The only answer I have on "trust" on the web is to advise serious people to frequent places that take the truth seriously: that is which correct themselves when shown to be wrong.  My motto has been "errors of fact I will correct instantly, errors of judgment I will consider; but I must reserve the right to determine which is which."  This is the statement I attach to pre-publication material I send out for the column (that is I show the company I write about what I am about to say, with that attachment.)

I also follow that motto for this site, with this difference, I will often print the arguments in which it is alleged that I am factually wrong. I try to take the truth of matters seriously.

Bugs in Word 97:

Alex sent this, and 

I'm sure some of you have seen:,4149,533801,00.asp 

About how you can send someone a document for review, which can grab a document and bring it back when returned.

If you read it carefully, you have to know the exact name of the file you want to steal, but that's still a big ol' bug, and W97 won't be fixed. Joy.

I think this is more of a "hmm" than a "harrumph" bug, but it's a bit --annoying.


Alex Pournelle, Director, PC and LAN Practice, Tech/Knowledge ( VP Business Development, Location Connect ( (800) 818-TECH or (626) 844-1000; Fax (626) 844-1001


Eric replied:

Could be a great way to make some fast cash. If an independent can come up with a fix for Word 97 to offer those hordes of corporate desktops holding out until future date for a replacement, then charging just a buck per install could be very profitable if enough IT managers were honest about it.

Maybe now more people will believe MS when they say a product is discontinued in every respect. Refusal to support a product past its expiration date is hardly unique to Microsoft but the way this is being covered in the press you'd think it was. I know from direct experience Corel's answer to requests for bug fixes to versions of Word Perfect more than one major rev removed from the current version. In the case of their horrible user privilege requirements for WP under a Win2K domain their answer was to buy the new release that had only been out two months. Now understand they also had a fix you could order for $20 that took two weeks to arrive but couldn't be downloaded because it was over 150MB and they didn't want to pay for the bandwidth to allow for a free download. The rewrite to the suite required was so extensive the technician admitted the fix was effectively the new release except for a few added features. How's that for legacy support?


I have seen no fixes so far.


The following represents many replies to this effect:

Dear Jerry, Thanks, first of all, for your columns and website and insights! I have enjoyed all over the years. To make what was almost a long story considerably shorter, I have accessed "WWW.LavasoftUSA.COM" several times and from many machines (some in our elementary schools that I know have never been there) in the last two weeks. I understand from postings on your site that it is not accessible, but I am still able to get there without any problem. This is from home (AT&T Broadband connection (sorry!)) and from the school system (Network Virginia). I know it's not cached because I can access it from machines that have never been to that site before. Make of this what you will.

And by the way, thanks. (Just thanks in general)


PS - please say hello to Roland D. for me - we worked together in a former lifetime.

Doug Adams Technology Network Administrator Colonial Heights Public Schools (804) 520-9073 Doug_Adams@ ColonialHts.Net









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