THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 360 May 2 - 8, 2005
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May 2, 2005
This day was eaten by a virus.
|This week:||Tuesday, May
Recovering if just barely. At least I can sit at my desk. Thanks to Roberta I was stuffed with hot soup and kept in bed to nurse a high temperature, entirely stuffed up head, racking cough, and the feeling that this time I wasn't going to get through this. But of course I did. It's astonishing what a temperature and the general miseries will do to your ability to think rationally. At least it astonished me.
The Space Access Conference went well, lots of reports. If you want to know what's going on in private space this is the conference to be at.
My lecture was marked by the first Power Point presentation I ever did. I'll have more to say in the column but it sure was easy to do, and I could add slides on Lisabetta the Tablet PC even as I listened to other people.
Assuming the recovery continues I ought to be sane enough to start the column tomorrow. Alas
It's Column Time
It's column time, but I have no brain. So I have been trying to make do with Everquest II as a way to pass the time. It keeps crashing.
Or is the whole Internet dying?
Man. Something is terribly wrong. And of course there are minor problems here, my brain isn't working and I can't figure anything out.
More tests -- it looks like Adelphia is dead, and it is time to connect to the satellite. Sigh
To make it even better, Earthlink has shut down webmail after first telling me that my mail box is full. Why does all this happen at once?
Tried going back to Adelphia. It works intermittently. And only intermittently. Back to the satellite.
Will I be doing dialup next?
Adelphia OF COURSE makes it nearly impossible to report the problem or find out if they are aware of problems. You must telephone. Of course they have ways of making you think you can send them email but in fact they don't. Why are they so deceptive?
I will have to telephone.
I suppose I will try that next.
(And did try it, and it turned out to be a pleasant and productive experience: see below. I have to say that Adelphia tech support was prompt, polite, and professional, and my misgivings were based on obsolete data.)
Still recovering. Thank heaven for my nose pump. I'd never have been able to get to sleep without it, and this morning, well, the results were disgusting but greatly comforting.
Adelphia is once more the execrable Adelphia. If their web site has any means for reporting problems I cannot find it; and I am not up to being on hold for the mandatory ten minute wait that is now policy with almost all help desks. Let them age; many will go away that way...
If there is anyone from or with Adelphia, there is a node out not far from me, possibly local in Studio City since it is about the first hop:
Reply from 126.96.36.199: bytes=32 time=54ms TTL=51
The system works intermittently and unreliably and the block is at that 188.8.131.52 node. It would be nice to tell the egregious Adelphia this without having to spend time on hold, but they provide no way to do it that I know of. Probably used the money for other purposes.
And of course there are minor problems everywhere and the column to do. Sometimes I feel a bit whelmed. Utterly whelmed was I, thrown under horse and all...
Sorry. I am sure I will be myself again. And there is mail. And the satellite system is working surprisingly well.
Adelphia still not working. And I am still not up to spending the hold time.
I was never that big a fan of "Roots", but banning the series from schools seems odd:
There was a time when I was convinced that the entire Internet was a conspiracy to see how many grown people you could get to stare at a computer screen on which absolutely nothing was happening. Adelphia is trying to work that magic with me again.
I owe Adelphia an apology. When I finally did telephone, I got a nice young man within a minute, explained the problem and the tests, and was instantly transferred to a competent young lady who tried all the tests she could do, and has now handed it up to a maintenance crew. We've established the problem isn't here. They're now aware of it. I am a bit astonished that there are not many more complaints, but perhaps there aren't that many Adelphia Cable Modem users on this blade.
They're looking into it, and I have to say the reporting experience was painless.
Clearly the problem is a unit somewhere in the chain is dropping packets and probably it's very close to me.
Cinco de Maya, 2005
Of course once could argue that Maximillian was as good a ruler as Mexico has ever had, but that's another argument for another time.
Meanwhile Gore to Get Lifetime Award for
Internet - Yahoo! News
We knew it all along, right? Which is no to say he made no contributions to using other people's money to fund the early development of the Internet, and we do have a long history of naming stuff built with taxes after the politician who caused the money to be spent. Incidentally, I question Gore's invention of the term "Information Highway", but memories aren't always reliable. Perhaps so. On the other hand, I was present at a AAAS meeting at which Gore, full of self-importance and surrounded by bodyguards who searched the press -- they had no idea what a digital camera was and were certain that a camera with no film couldn't really be a camera -- I was present as then VP Gore made claims about his contributions that were certainly a revelation to me and to the MIT people I was sitting with.
I am not sure if this was the AAAS meeting at which I chaired what was at that time the session that broke the record for public attendance at a non-plenary event. Of course having Niven, Minsky, Benford, McCarthy, Forward, and Sagan as panelists had more to do with the draw than I did, but I was the session chairman. Carl Sagan braved a fierce snowstorm to get down from Ithaca to attend.)
In any event, he did see the value of funding what became the backbone, so give him his due.
I am pleased to say that Adelphia has fixed the problem, whatever it was (probably an intermittently failing blade) and my communications are back to their crispy normal state. I can go turn off the satellite computer after I make sure all its updates are installed.
I will also have to say that even in my debilitated state -- and I think of few people grumpier than a debilitated curmudgeon -- the experience of reporting the problem to Adelphia was not unpleasant, and their technicians were polite, even cheerful, and thoroughly professional. The second-tier young lady I was referred to admitted to reading User Friendly ever day, and laughed when I asked if her name was Miranda.
The Wall Street Journal has a pair of articles about the "Christian Right" on the editorial page today. The lead editorial is pretty good but misses an important point. Christopher Hitchens' rebuttal is typical and completely misses the point, but then he often does.
What no one seems to understand is that if you abolish local control of important matters, and do it by judicial fiat, you have imposed a tyranny, and you will call forth anti-tyrannical measures, some of them extreme. There are probably a few nut cases among the Christian right who want to impose their views across county and state lines; but most of those have arisen in response to judicial destruction of their local control of their communities, local schools, and public squares. Now I make no doubt there are those who want to nationalize their social policies, but their influence was waning until the judicial imposition of fresh new Constitutional rights. But that's another story for another time.
Went out to Kaiser this morning to have starving blood drawn -- farewell hungry little corpuscles. If I am up to that I am probably up to anything but I do seem to be thinking slow. Coming back I heard Rush Limbaugh for the first time in months.. Apparently Laura Bush made some jokes about her husband's Texas Ranch experience -- "We didn't know much about ranching when we bought the place, ranching is not a big program at Andover and Yale -- but he's learning. Much better now than the first year when he dried to milk the horse. The worst part was it was a male horse." And apparently there are people who are offended by a joke that I first heard in about 1937.
Now think about that in light of the speculation about the Christian Right.
And this just in:
Last night's O'Reilly Factor had a clip about high-school girls wearing lapel buttons saying: I LOVE MY VAGINA. The school officials asked them to take off the buttons. There was a controversy about this. A controversy.
Now if you want that sort of thing in your local school, fine; but surely the people of Resume Speed, Missouri, have some rights to control this sort of thing in their schools?
May 6, 2005
Recovered enough to take our mile or more hike this morning. A bit weakened but in pretty good shape. Now to get some words written.
I probably ought to have some thoughts on the British elections, but in fact none of it was a surprise. When there are a lot of undecided voters the incumbent generally wins.
Review in today's paper of a new book about the Kent State affair. Some of you may remember that. After all these years and all the investigation there seems little new to think about.
A group of vandals used the Viet Nam War as an excuse to torch local businesses, most small businesses locally owned by people who had no more control over the national war policies than anyone else. Other students chose to emulate the vandals in confrontational language and attitude but not in violence. Some chose to associate with those emulating the vandals. Into that mix stir some young National Guardsmen drawn from the population: but of course these armed young men were those who chose to answer the call. Now they were subjected to trash talk by those who didn't burn buildings, but didn't really mind being taken for those who had, and who used confrontational language intended to humiliate the young armed men they faced.
Stir this mixture well. The results are predictable.
One of Niven's laws is "Do not throw excrement at an armed man." Another is "Do not stand next to someone who is throwing excrement at an armed man."
When the Vikings came to town I am sure there were some who were not real berserkers and who actually didn't participate in the arson, rapine, and murder. There may have been some who disapproved, and who didn't even take part in pillage, but were there to give moral support to the real Vikings because, let us say, they disapproved of the the religion of the White Christ and wanted to show their support for the Old Gods. Imagine some of those taken alive by the local sheriff, and imagine their defense against being hanged for the sins of their Viking colleagues.
My advice: if you are part of a "peaceful protest" that brings out armed soldiers who look scared, run like hell. Find another means to express your disapproval of the state and its policies.
Now back to work.
In the old DOS and FAT days, we had tools that would entirely delete a bad folder. I have one such on an NTFS disk and I either never knew or do not remember how to simple NUKE that thing, get rid of it, make it go away forever. Does anyone know? The folder thinks it has files in it, but they don't exist. I don't want to delete file by file I want the entire foldr never to have existed.
May 7, 2005
COLUMN time with a vengeance.
May 8, 2005
The column is done and sent off to BYTE in various countries.
Tuesday morning we are off for a ten day trip that may or may not include Internet access; I won't know until I get there.
I will be around tomorrow, but mostly getting ready for the trip, so I won't have a lot of time. This is a bit more than a vacation, and I'll have some good stuff for all of you when I get back. Meanwhile it is likely to be fairly thin pickings at this site for two weeks.
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, 8,000 - 12,000 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. This site is run on the "public radio" model; see below.
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