THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 321 August 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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August 2. 2004
Home, but it's column time. I have already written more for this site today than I intended, and my desk is piled high with mail, galley proofs, and other work that needs to be done, and of course the column deadline is upon me.
I have a complaint from a long time subscriber that this site has become too political, and he would prefer the politics get sorted out from the rest. I don't blame him. Politics is pretty boring. I try to separate out things that have some long term value or reflect on principles I think important, like Empire and Republic, rather than the more trivial questions of which faction of The Enlightened will be able to tell us Benighted what to do for the next few years.
Alas, it's hard to separate out the important things, like the collapse of our education system from one of education to one of credentialism -- the product of American Education is not even remotely intended to be educated persons, but rather people with the proper credentials, and alas, most of those IN the education system including the teachers and professors no longer even remember what the older system was or what it was supposed to produce. (For those who are curious about what education used to be there is probably no better work than Jacques Barzun, TEACHER IN AMERICA, which is still available here and there.)
The same is true when looking at the future of technology and its impact on society -- which was supposed to be the seminar I was going to conduct at CalTech when Feynman and others were trying to get me on the faculty out there. While the trends are somewhat impendent of who gets to hear Hail to the Chief every few hours, it's hard sometimes to remember this. I apologize.
Anyway, I haven't got a lot of time just now. I need to get into the column, including the Digital Rights Management section I didn't do last month because of other matters. And I have a new Intel board, and it is now quite possible to break away from Microsoft Windows entirely with XANDROS Linux: desktop and servers, you can be Microsoft free and give up little; it will even run much of Office 2000 although I don't know about later versions of Office, and it doesn't do Front Page. But even that is changing.
The world continues to turn, though, and I can't ignore Baghdad and the Iraqi adventure. More on why another time.
August 3, 2004
A day devoured by locusts, but we got our walk in, went to the bank, got my driving license renewed, got stuff for the humming bird feeders, and got Roberta's car alarm repaired. Hollywood Bowl tonight, and I suppose I'll go, even though the column is calling. I also want to do some fiction but it's late enough that I won't be doing much of that, and all the errands have eaten the day.
One errand was a doozey: I gave money to a political candidate in another state. So he sent me certified mail asking for more money. Wasting what I gave him and sending me on a half hour expedition to the Post Office to pick up a letter which thoughtfully had no return address so I couldn't even tell I didn't want it.
I'll answer all right. With ten pennies or so in the postage paid envelope, and my views on people who waste other people's time. With judgment like that I don't want him in Congress!
We have set up a new D925 Intel with 3.6 GHz Pentium 4, a gigabyte of Kingston DDR2 RAM, and an nVidia PCI-Express video card. All works well although the video board isn't the absolute top of the line fastest.
Went to the Bowl. Rachmaninoff's Second. Pounding away like a thing possessed...
August 4, 2004
Column Time. Deadlines are upon me.
August 5, 2004
Spent the day driving to Huntington Beach for lunch with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. Probably worth it, but it used up a lot of the day.
Listened to radio, which I do not normally do. All kinds of talk show stuff about Kerry and the Swift Boats. Not really my cup of tea. I do agree that the other Navy chaps who didn't burn villages and shoot civilians may have a right to be a bit miffed with someone who said he and all of them did. It doesn't seem like a great campaign issue (Coriolanus, anyone?) but at the same time, Kerry seems to be making a lot of his 4 month military record rather than his somewhat longer career in Congress. Haven't heard much about the Kerry Bill or any such thing. Perhaps now we will.
But that does seem to be today's big wonder story.
Subject: Why Kerry returned so fast
The reason for Kerry being shipped back to the US was that had had 3 Purple Hearts and the rule at the time was that 3 would let your ask to be transferred back to the U.S. and Kerry chose to do that. He didn't use any political connections to get home.
A bit more info is that before he was on a Swift Boat, he was on a large Navy ship for 1 year, so his active military career was more than 4 months.
- Stephen Hart
I understood that and assumed most here did also; it is said on the radio shows every time. As I have said elsewhere the curiosity to me is why the Democrats are making so much of Kerry's military service. I think they built themselves a trap, inspected it carefully, and walked into it, for reasons not clear to me. Why bring it up at all?
Have to work on cooling systems. Alderwood runs hot...
August 6, 2004
I see Iraq erupted again yesterday. I said at the time that compromising on Fallujah was a major mistake, as was allowing that Sadr chap to get away with thumbing his nose at us. Whether we are building a democracy or an empire, the definition of government is that it holds a monopoly on the use of force and violence. Legitimate governments hold an accepted and approved monopoly on force and violence, but without that ability to protect those who adhere to it, a regime is not a government at all.
I would have thought even neo-Jacobins in Washington would know that. If you can't protect people, then people will go to those who can protect them. In Fallujah it turns out not to be the Marines but someone else. In the "Holy Cities" it's Sadr's militia.
The big story this weekend ... Microsoft has released XP/SP2 to manufacturing. Highlights (this is still new as I write this):
- The best way to get it is to enable Windows Update (and the best way to ensure staying correct). Full instructions at http://www.microsoft.com/protect , including a 'wizard' that will configure things for "Aunt Millie".
- You will be able to order a CD later this month, and
it will be free. Here's the link, but they aren't taking orders yet.
- OEM's will be getting the patch. I suspect that it will take a short time for the OEM's to get it onto their system 'builds'. One report says that Microsoft will let OEM's tape the update CD to the box (not confirmed).
- Corporate users should contact their support staff...there will probably be some minor problems.
- Home users should set up for Automatic Updates.
- It's not clear if users of the Release Candidate should uninstall the Release Candidate before installing the update, but it might be a good idea.
I found a good writeup/review of the update here http://www.winsupersite.com/reviews/windowsxp_sp2.asp , and additional info is available at that site.
This "security dweeb's" recommendation: set up your home computers for Automatic Updates.
Regards: Rick Hellewell information security at digital choke dot com
August 7, 2004
Which happens to be my birthday, but it's also deadline time...
August 8, 2004
It's 7 PM here. The "release candidate 1" column is now done, and off for my crew of experts to find all the stupid things I have said and correct them so you will all continue to think I know everything. That's the goal, anyway.
I'm sort of coming up for air. I haven't had lunch, or walked the dog, or done anything but pound away and do tests. Deadlines are deadlines... but this will be in Tokyo tomorrow morning, and as usual I started thinking it was awful and ended telling myself it wasn't so bad after all...
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