THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 313 June 7 - 13, 2004
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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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June 7, 2004
The June column is done, finally. It runs about 11,500 words. And I was up until 5 AM Saturday night, and 3 AM last night, so I have some sleep coming...
Goodbye, Mr. President.
They are bringing the catafalque from the Capitol, where it stays in the empty tomb intended for George Washington. The drums will be muffled, and the troops will be in slow step. Most of the soldiers won't have served under him. And I suppose most Americans won't know just how much he did for the world.
When I was young, the notion that Communism would just sort of vanish, and the USSR would come apart without death throes that might destroy half the world was no more than science fiction. Yet it happened, and I cannot think who could have brought it off other than Ronald Reagan.
Goodbye, Mr. President. We remember.
|This week:||Tuesday, June
I have installed Windows XP Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 1 on this system, and I now recommend it for all systems that communicate with the Internet. Clearly if you have critical problems don't do it, and you will want to read the Microsoft warnings. It is a release candidate which means it is not yet fully released.
I was reminded of previous work:
and it's still worth a look.
The column is on the wire along with pictures. Now to get ready to go to Jacksonville Florida this weekend where Niven and I are Guests of Honor at a convention.
I note that Ray Bradbury is still steamed, as well he might be:
I am often asked to revise some of my review pages and such that have fallen out of use. I think I will start a Page or section where I list various products I current use and continue to recommend. It wouldn't talk much about stuff I don't have direct experience with.
This can would include computer products, and I'll revise it at monthly or better intervals.
Is this a good idea? Will more of you subscribe if I do that? (Clearly if this brings in a number of subscriptions instantly I'll go do it in the next couple of days.)
It won't cut into fiction time. Sometimes, like today, I have a couple of days before I have to make a trip, with the first two days of the week eaten by deadlines and errands, and I'll use that time: since I am not going to go get new stuff, and this isn't a reviews page, it shouldn't take all that long to set up and keep up.
If this seems like a good -- or bad -- idea, send mail with the word recommend as subject. Or subscribe and mention it...
Subscribers know how to get their opinions of this to me...
I heard the suggestion today that they ought to bring President Reagan home by train, as they did Lincoln. I thought it a good idea but my wife pointed out how hard it would be on Nancy as two weeks or more went by.
In California the crowds keep going to the Library, and Washington DC prepares a state funeral.
June 9, 2004
Cleaning up from getting the column done. Shipped off the copy edited maps for Burning Tower.
Tomorrow, not too early, we set out for Jacksonville Florida for a convention, so today will be spent making preparations for being away from my desk for so long. Any time left over I'll put here.
There's yet another phishing scam: this one looks like an official e-bay notice and is more sophisticated than most. Once again, never respond to such things,. Don't send off your user name and password or credit card number, just as you don't give people financial information over the telephone, until you have absolutely verified that you are dealing with people who (1) wouldn't already know the information and (2) are authorized to receive it. In particular, you don't send someone confidential information to "verify" it; not without a lot more negotiation than a simple request and assurance that this isn't a scam, you don't.
But you knew that. Now spread the word.
Yesterday a reader asked if there is a way to use a router if you're on dialup. I had to think on that one. We used to use the Rebel NetWinder, which was a small Linux box that served as a router and security firewall, before we got cable modem, but that may be more than was wanted, and I am not sure what Rebel's status is. The NetWinder sure was a good little box.
But Eric points out that most routers now have a serial port, and you can attach an external modem to that, and thus isolate a dial-up link from the Internet; and since we have personal knowledge of machines infected over dialup, this seems like a good idea. Before anyone panics, though, I point out that the over-dialup infection happened on a machine that hadn't installed security updates available even as it was being infected, and there are even later patches; I know of no very recent dialup incidents.
And I had better get back to work.
I will be catching an airplane in the morning. I'll try to update this site over the weekend, but I don't guarantee anything.
TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!
Goodbye, Mr. President, and God keep you.
June 10, 2004
I am off to Jacksonville, Florida. Return Monday.
Subject: About Email Scams - aka Phishing
You might post a link to here http://www.antiphishing.org/phishing_archive.htm
With the note that people should go click on a few of the examples to see just how "real" they do look
John Thomas Smith
Houston airport. Wireless in President's club. It works.
June 11, 2004
We are in Jacksonville. It's a combination convention, media and artists and musicians as well as science fiction people, and there are three other conventions in the hotel.
It is going better than most first time conventions go.
I have not seen the TV series Firefly, but one of the actresses for the series is here, and she's very nice, and I'll have to get the DVD's. Joss Wheedon is making a movie using the characters and story line. That is being filmed now. I wish them well.
June 12 2004
The hotel has "free high speed Internet" but at 8 last night they turned off the ability to send. ITT says that's to prevent spammers. The result is that I have no way to send email. I suppose I can use mail2web for anything vital.
Of course there was no warning. Just suddenly I noticed in my INBOX a number of system administrator messages that said that "some" of the mail was not delivered to intended recipients. "Some" turns out to be all. Thus when I get access to mail I will have to resend all those that gof blocked.
For a while I thought this was a problem with my system or perhaps with Service Pack 2 and its firewall, since neither the hotel nor ITT gave any warning that their "service" isn't. The "high speed" was never very high to begin with. Now it doesn't go out at all.
I cannot recommend Adams Mark hotels, which seem to be trying but don't have their act together.
Anyway, if you send me email, do not expect an answer until Monday night when I am home.
Later today I'll go listen to a panel featuring Cory Doctorow on Fair Use. That may be interesting.
I think I have been to enough conventions. Airplanes are no longer fun, and conventions seems increasingly bogged down in rules and regulations and details. It's time to go write some more. The real world isn't so much fun as it used to be. Maybe my own worlds can be better.
And maybe I just didn't digest my dinner as well as I should have.
I'm told by one friend that Firefly is awful, and deserved cancellation. Sigh. The young actress is very nice. She was describing being handed a huge machinegun which was so heavy she could hardly lift it. This was in the green room. Soon others came in.
Then I was sitting at a big table with a half dozen 25 year old actresses, mostly secondary characters in Buffy or Angel or both. Perfect conditioning, well groomed, poised -- and looking for work, now selling the opportunity to get your photograph taken with one or another of them. Friends tell me that 25 is over the hill in small screen in Hollywood, and few go from small screen to big screen where the longevity may be longer. Even Buffy herself seems to be looking for work. I have watched Hollywood eat kids alive for 30 years, and it looks to continue.
This convention is mostly media oriented, which I hadn't known. There are few books for sale here. I wonder if all conventions are headed this way, kids in punk costumes, everything media oriented. We'll see what kind of discussion happens with Doctorow in an hour or so. And see below.
Well I cannot connect to my web site, so I guess we have had it. The Adams Mark Hotel can't do communications. Why should it.
Avoid this chain if being connected means anything to you. If you see this before Monday it will be because I have used dialup. Jacksonville itself seems to be deep in an Internet well, but the hotel service is the main problem. We'll try Earthlink dialup later.
So: I cannot send email, and I cannot connect to ftp any longer. Probably for my convenience.
It's working now. Apparently there was a massive power spike that took my web host off line. That wasn't the Adams Mark's fault. But I can't email out and that is the hotel.
I realize that tastes differ, and I'm sure that your friend's judgment is impeccable, but in this case you might be wise to check out at least an episode or two of Firefly before passing it over. It certainly isn't traditional science fiction, but it is well done and entertaining, in my opinion.
Thanks, Jerry Boyd
Enough. I'll get a couple of episodes if only to see the young lady in action. She was quite charming.
I have ordered the DVD. We will see. Mail is running 3:1 for Firefly. I am urged to watch the episodes in the proper order. And see below.
I still cannot answer email unless I use dialup and there is nothing so urgent that it needs that. I'll be home Monday.
June 13, 2004
The tall ships are in Jacksonville for the weekend. This is the USCG training ship Eagle.
I don't want to sound negative. The convention is fun. But this "high speed Internet service" from the hotel is horrible. It is slow and unreliable, and I really can't send much in the way of pictures this way, so that part will have to wait until I get home. Just changing directories when on ftp to my web site takes a long time and I am never sure it will do it properly. Uploading pictures takes longer, and again, I can never be sure it will be done properly.
Tracing route to jerrypournelle.com [188.8.131.52]
There was the best fireworks display I have seen in years last night. They used a barge in the river for the launch site. It lasted 14 minutes, and we had a perfect vantage point. The guest party was loud. Both Marvin Wolfman and I have problems with hearing individual voices in a crowd, but we can hear each other, and of course Niven is used to my problems, so that all worked out. A nice dinner and a party afterwards. More when I have more reliable connections.
Enough on Firefly! I have ordered the DVD. Mail is running about 3:1 in favor of it, provided that one watches the episodes in the proper order as opposed to the order in which the network presented them. I have ordered it, it will be at home Tuesday, and we will see. And see below:
Thin convention is pretty well over and everyone is going home, but we won't be out of here until o-dark-thirty tomorrow. The "free high speed internet connection" system will not handle outgoing mail, in theory to prevent outgoing spam, which must really make business travelers happy. I cannot recommend the Adams Mark hotels for people who need communications. Otherwise it is a pretty good hotel as hotels go. It may be that some of the convention attendees abused the system Friday? Outgoing mail worked until about 8PM Friday then was turned off. No one will talk about why.
Corey Doctorow was here, and I wanted to have a talk with him because if what I think I heard at his panel was correct, I am pretty sure we disagree about intellectual property. His speaking style is one of entire self-assurance, as if there can be no doubt of what he is saying, but he speaks so quickly and on so many subjects, that it is not always easy -- at least for me -- to graps his exact points or what he thinks ought to be done. He seems to be coming across as an "information wants to be free" as in beer advocate. If that is not what he wants, then I misunderstood, which could be his fault or mine. And see tomorrow's view.
Once again, it's painful to send pictures and larger files because the hotel's "high speed Internet" isn't working very well (and doesn't do outbound mail at all). But this is a nice one.
Jewel Staite, aka Kaylee the ship's mechanic in Firefly, at the pro party, talking with illustrator Arne Starr. Jewel and some of the Buffy girls -- Amy and Harmony in this case -- come to these conventions when they aren't working. I live in the Hollywood area as do they but I never meet them except in places like Jacksonville, Florida. It's one reason I go to these conventions, to meet people who live half a mile away...
And the for final word on Firefly, see here
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