THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 295 February 2 - 8, 2004
Highlights this week:
This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the monthly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 4,000 - 7,000 words, depending. (Older columns here.) For more on what this page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here.
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February 2, 2004
Column time. I am building a new Intel Prescott system. This will be in the column, but it's important: you must install Windows XP; Service Pack 1a; and then the Intel Chipset drivers and stuff. Since the Internet card is on the motherboard, this means downloading SP-1A and burning a CD. Doing things in a different order appears to work but only appears to: there are anomalies. Thanks to Bob Thompson for pointing things out to me.
He has a review of the Prescott on his web site
which I can recommend.
I'm reinstalling, having done things in the wrong order. It's all grist for the column mill.
And, Adelphia is deaded on cable modem connection, so I am on by satellite. Sigh.
|This week:||Tuesday, February
I have built a Prescott 3.2 GHz system, with a Crucial ATI 9800 video board. This thing smokes. Literally: it runs hot. The Intel fan isn't what I'd rec0mmend for it. All this and more in the column...
NASA is talking about offering prizes. Amazing.
I see that General Zinni says what I always thought: that the plan was to keep the Iraqi army more or less intact and, as we promised, given them an honorable place in rebuilding the country. Instead the neocons disbanded the army. Now we are trying to build it back, having angered a lot of armed men and humiliated them. As well as having broken what looked like promises to me, and which they seem to have thought were promises.
We also broadcast the Superbowl half time activities to Iraq so they can see what liberation means. As one columnist asked, were we trying to encourage and justify the jihad?
http://www.ivic.net/~axis/airplane/MD-80.mpeg (connects to a Quicktime movie; if you can't do those you won't see this.)
Over in Mail I had a few words about democracy in Iraq. One thing to note: if they have real plebiscitary democracy in Iraq, the majority Shiites will probably vote in an Islamic Republic. Perhaps not: there are a lot of secularists among both Sunni and Shia Muslims and the Kurds are not particularly interested in Islamic Law so far as I know; but there are fundamentalists among all the races and people and clans in Iraq, and fervor counts in getting out the vote: you can't predict the result. Or I can't.
I can predict that such a "democractic" Iraq would be a disaster for both Iraq and the west. What we want is a humane Saddam, but we aren't likely to get one. The iron law of dictatorship is that the worst get on top (see Ortega y Gasset The Revolt of the Masses for more on that).
Our goal in Iraq ought not be "democracy" and we ought to stop talking as if it were. We don't want one man, one vote, once; we want stable rule of law, and if that takes monarchy, or some kind of council of officers to protect the constitution (as in Turkey) then so be it. Arabs and the people of Mesopotamia have always been volatile through all history, and there is no reason to suppose they won't be now. Turning over a country to a head count is not much use.
Can we build a republic there? I don't know. Of course our very effort to do it makes us more imperial and less republican...
My views with some opposition letters are over in mail:
Democracy in the Balkans (and in general)
Subject: Gus W. Weiss information
In his own words.
More on the Cold War...
And we have
Subject: Careful what you do with your Mac
I always knew Mac users were a little strange; I didn't realize so many were completely unhinged:
Which, given the rather incredible story, may be good advice. Although I have to say that I have yet to get much in the way of hostile mail from Mac users. I posted I think the most snide letter I got. Nearly everything I have received from Mac users has been courteous and helpful, and all my Mac experiences have been relatively pleasant. Yes, I find myself screaming in frustration at the Mac sometimes -- one story on that will be in the column, having to do with Roberta's Class Reunion DVD -- but in general, while the Mac has a different way of doing things, if you have faith that there is a way, you will find it, and it will be easy. Usually. Not always.
When you have to go to Open Source BIOS and issue commands in a command line interface I never suspected was there in order to get it to eject a disk, things may have got a bit out of hand. Full story on that in the column. But even there, Mac users were helpful and rather sympathetic, and the moral of the story is that the Mac isn't perfect but it does have ways inside it to get things done. Peter Glaskowsky's dictum that with the Mac it is either easy or impossible isn't quite true: given patience and a guru you can find ways to do things you didn't even suspect...
Meanwhile I have a new TABLET PC, the Acer C110, which I get to play with for a while to compare to the Compaq Tablet. I am convinced Tablets are the wave of the future. Pity Mac doesn't offer one yet.
I was reminded in another conference of a measuring unit: the milliHelen, which is the amount of beauty required to launch one ship...
February 5, 2004
ANTEC fans mount with long skinny rubber thingies. They can break, and if you use one to mount a fan you can't ever remove it intact. I need some. I cannot find them anywhere. If you don't know what I am talking about, forget it, and I don't need speculations, but if you know where I can buy some of those fan mount thingies -- they are about 2 1/2 inches long and thinner than a pencil -- I would be grateful for the information.
I hope these are what you're looking for, I sent you
an incorrect link earlier.
They were indeed, and thank you!
Subject: Phishing, fake URLs, Microsoft fixes, and stupid programmers
I know your time is short (and we all appreciate the time you spend on your site and at Byte), so here is the short version:
- Bug in IE lets people put links that aren't what they appear; they direct you to a site other than that shown in the address bar.
- Everyone complains that Microsoft software has bugs.
- Microsoft fixes the problem with a patch (released this week)
- The patch breaks stupid web pages that put the username/password in the URL (in clear text)
- Stupid web page programmers say "well, we'll just fix that by un-fixing the Microsoft fix -- we'll send a registry patch to our users"
More complete details here:
MSNBC news site with the story (and the stupid programmer quote at the end)
is here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4165095/ .
Rick Hellewell, Information Security Dude, email@example.com
But see mail for Peter Glaskowsky's comments. There is also a reply by Mr. Hellewell. This is a matter of some gravity.
And this is wonderful:
I think you will like this, maybe that you have seen it already.
(OLD LINK WAS HERE)
Hi Jerry - Thanks for posting a link to our Mars Rover animation. We've been getting tons of visitors from jerrypournelle.com.
Please note, the correct URL for the video is: http://www.maasdigital.com/gallery.html
The link you posted is now broken since we shift the video files around to manage bandwidth. The gallery.html link will always work. I would appreciate if you could edit your link to point there.
6 February, 2004
7 February 2004
Column deadlines, mostly
8 February 2004
OK. The column is done, coming up for air.
I note that:
has some interesting pictures of the Battleship Michael from Footfall, but considering that most of the concept and engineering details came from me, I wonder who wrote the introductory text. Oh. Well. Sic transit gloria mundi
We have lots of mail and I'll try to deal with it later.
The solution to the puzzle:
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