THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
VIEW 100 May 8 - 14, 2000
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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 place is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE.
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May 7, 2000
You might want to look at:
which is a fascinating account of just what we didn't do in the Balkan Bombardment. We knew about deception and denial from the Desert War. I know, because I personally arranged for some briefings on the subject for top officials. In view of that, this is serious.
|This week:||Tuesday, May
If anyone doubts the trend toward Empire, read:
in which it is now explicitly assumed that the United States will continue to meddle in everyone else's affairs, and that Allbright's comment "What is the use of having a splendid army if we don't use it?" has become the policy of nearly everyone in government, Republican and Democrat alike.
The article describes a commission on which Newt Gingrich sits, and its conclusions. Let me hasten to add I not only wasn't part of this study, but this is the first I knew of its existence, which is probably laxity on my part; I am sure there was ample publicity about its formation. In any event this commission concludes that we can't use the regulars for peacekeeping, and peacekeeping deployments are harming training and re-enlistment rates. All true, of course. It then concludes that we need troops dedicated to this type of work.
The need for colonial police or a national constabulary, permanent divisions of military government troops, career peace keepers, is obvious -- for an Empire. For a self-governing Republic whose policy is "We are the friends of liberty everywhere, but the guardians only of our own," the needs are a bit different.
However, I can suggest a way to solve this problem. We can recruit an American Legion. It will be headquartered on one of the Illyrian islands -- I am sure we can cause someone over there to give us one. It's a pleasant enough place. Alternatively, perhaps Algeria would lease us Sidi bel Abbes for a headquarters. The troops enlisting get a new name, and need not be American citizens: but they get citizenship after 20 years of honorable service. We could then put the best of our jail population to work, and recruiting officers could look all over the world for Legionnaires.
Of course one provision of the Legion is that it will NEVER set foot on American soil...
But then -- "They had learned the dread secret, that Emperors could be made in places other than Rome." Tacitus
I note that the campaign against strategic defenses, led by the usual suspects, has heated up again. The Europeans are at least open about it: they want the US to be vulnerable to strategic attack so that we will "remain involved." Washington would have called those "entangling alliances" and "becoming involved in the territorial disputes of Europe" but that was a simple era.
Still, I would think that "If you would have peace, be prepared for war," is no less relevant today as in the old Roman Republic; and one of the preparations for war, I would have thought, is sufficient continental defense to give us time for mobilization, so that we do not have to keep enormous standing armies with the inevitable temptation to use them whether needed or not.
In the old days of the Cold War I admit being an advocate of Legions, and I recall delivering a lecture to that effect to Mr. Gingrich when he was an opposition Congressman; but that was when we had to keep proud legions on the far frontier as part of the defense of America. It is no longer clear that we need to do that now, or that we need specially trained troops for the purpose of interfering in the domestic affairs of other nations, advanced, developing, or uncivilized. It is not clear that we need to renew colonialism under a new name. At least it is not clear to me.
Is this "isolationism"? Hardly. I haven't changed my views. The policy of the United States should be "We are the friends of liberty everywhere, but guardians only of our own." Guarding our own may well involve interfering in the affairs of others: but that is quite different from seeking out opportunities to do so, and being involved in all corners of the world and every civil insurrection. Guarding our own certainly means keeping the sea lanes open: we have always been a maritime power, and Free Trade as a policy demands that we be able to buy the products after we export the job of making them. Guarding our own means making us as secure as possible from attack.
And yes: I know that nuclear weapons can be delivered by "Fedex" or otherwise smuggled in. I have been aware of "anonymous war" since 12 September, 1945 when it was discussed in a civic class following the revelation of the atomic bomb. But what one may not do with "Fedexed" bombs is WIN A WAR. Now there may well be nations who wish us harm but who do not think in terms of winning a war. One solution to THAT problem is not to give them so many reasons to hate us: I doubt the Taliban would dislike us as much had we not dropped cruise missiles on their territory (to no beneficial effect I can discern): bombing a power with whom you are not at war tends to strain relations with that power. I wish the State Department acted as if it were aware of that.
But there are also powers which may well think in terms of winning a nuclear war. One of the Cold War nightmares was this scenario: Soviet warheads explode over our major missile bases. They were delivered by single birds to avoid triggering any launch on early warning. Perhaps some were sent by Fedex. We cannot launch into that cloud. Now behind the single weapons are waves of ICBM's which effectively rip out our deterrent force. And now comes the negotiation: surrender or we use the rest of our inventory on your cities.
The answer to this was to make our deterrent invulnerable. That's impossible, so you do the next best thing: you make sure the other guy cannot KNOW with any certainty just how much of our Strategic Offensive Force (SOF) he can take out with pin-down and massive bombardment or any other conceivable first strike that may or may not include smuggled in weapons (and smuggling in atom bombs is not as trivial as fiction writers like to make it). Passive measures go only so far as accuracies of ICBM's improve, and improve they will: of the ICBM guidance error budget, geodetic anomalies are now trivial; correction for winds over target becomes possible with worldwide weather broadcasts; guidance integration errors are tiny with good computers; onboard computers allow much more precise steering toward the desired trajectory; mapping errors vanish as satellites tie all the continental grids together; GPS allows absolute location of bases by agents on the ground, much easier for the USSR to have than for the US to have; and on, and on. As accuracies get down to CEP's of under a hundred feet at ICBM ranges, passive measures fail. You can harden a silo only so far.
At that point active defenses of both cities and missile field become important, and note that active defense of a missile farm aids the second striker far more than the first striker: i.e., these are stabilizing influences.
And city defenses make it harder to take out the other guy's SOF because you must hold back more of your strike force to overcome the city defenses if you are going to present a credible threat in your negotiation stage.
All this was discussed 30 years ago in Possony and Pournelle, ASSURED SURVIVAL, which was our answer to Assured Destruction as a doctrine.
To those who say this is all far-fetched, I can only say that Immanual Bloch showed well before World War One that a major war would bankrupt all the powers involved, and no one would win. No one COULD win. Well, a day.
There is a great deal of discussion about firewalls over in mail. It's all worth reading.
And I have got a NEC Simplem (bad name, good machine) which is a Pentium III system built into a 15" flat screen with DVD. Alas all the manuals are in Japanese but I shouldn't have any real trouble setting it up. I do need a USB - Ethernet connector or cable or box; it needs to be self contained as there aren't any slots in this machine. Anyone know a good source on connecting to Ethernet through USB? I never did that before. (THANKS TO ALL WHO RESPONDED: I now know what to do. THANKS AGAIN)
This is really a cute little machine...
Stay tuned for how I like it after using it a while. See www.dynamism.com for more.
It sure started up easily. Although there are no wires from keyboard (or the remote which has a mushpad), the on/off switches on the keyboard and remote work just fine. The hardest part was finding the concealed place to plug in the power cord. It's Windows 98, and it looks good...
May 10, 2000
Wade Scholine says: Asteroid the size of New Jersey
Run, do not walk, to http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ and read about
Asteroid 216 Kleopatra. (But see next 2 paragraphs first!)
Earth gets hit by an asteroid -- a big one -- every umpty-million years, and I gather we're due for another. I'd sure like to have the capability to go change that sucker's orbit...
On your current view page, under Wednesday, a reader sent a link for Asteroid Kleopatra. That link, while still a valid link, points to a different astronomy picture every day, and the permanent link to Asteroid Kleopatra is http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap000510.html .
Brian Cheesman firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to all who responded regarding USB/Ethernet. I gather that both LinkSys and Netgear have reliable ones, and others do as well. (See mail.) Since everyone (but me) is in Las Vegas for the big Internet show, I'll wait until next week to pulse my contacts on getting several to test with the new Simplem, which I think I am going to name Simon when it needs a net name.
I do note that the Simplem is Not Cheap...
We'll be seeing a showing of Battlefield Earth tonight at Grauman's Chinese. That may be interesting...
May 11, 2000
Well we saw the picture. Doubtless others did as well who will have their opinions. I can say with confidence that hard science fiction fans will not care for it. Like Battlestar Galactica Battlefield Earth requires a considerable suspension of disbelief: in a few scenes you must hang it by the neck until dead. It uses the convention, common in action films as well as science fiction, that you can outrun an explosion, and that pistols fire better if held horizontally rather than vertically...
The opening was fascinating, with red carpet laid out on Hollywood Blvd., people in cheering stands, lines of reporters and camera people, and the usual hoopla of a Hollywood major film opening. Whether the picture will earn enough to justify that much opening ceremony is, well let's say, uncertain. I'll say this much, I don't expect ever to see John Travolta in a role like this again.
There is a new FPRI Report on myths about Winning the Viet Nam War. It's an important paper, and short. It's particularly important for those who didn't live through the era and believe what they've been told in the papers and history books.
My only disagreement with this paper is supplementary: that is, dragging the war on and on turned out to be the best thing we could do although we didn't think so at the time. I didn't think so at the time. But the truth is, Viet Nam was a perfect battle ground for grinding down the USSR's industrial capability, forcing them to invest in military resources easily destroyed by USN and USAF, and thus not in infrastructure and expansion of their economy. We could afford guns and butter. The USSR could not afford both. Viet Nam forced them to invest in guns to be shipped at great cost a long way.
Moreover, we had won the Viet Nam war at least to the extent that we won the Korean War. In Korea we made it clear that another incursion South would be met with US force and that this time we'd take more Northern territory. Had we made it clear that another invasion south would have triggered a ramps down back to Hanoi effort, South Viet Nam would have remained independent and Southern California would not have a new cuisine. But that is another story. In any event I can recommend the FPRI report as dispelling some common but silly myths.
My mother told me if you can't say anything nice about people who have been nice to you, don't say anything at all. I tend to follow that maxim.
My Primary Domain Server is dead and I don't have a backup. I have tried workaraounds, but there's nothing for it: I am about to make, set up, and install, an NT 4 Primary Domain Server. Wish me luck. I suspect I am going to Need It.
Well, that was a waste of time. I get almost there and get a blue screen. I can't really interpret it. I'll make one more try, of trying to get drivers off the Intel CD that came with the system for the Intel Ethernet adaptor that's built into the motherboard. But so far I get to the point where it is finishing the installation and it blue screens.
I am tempted to try Windows 2000 on this beast. I realize that's taking a fairly big step, but what have I go to lose? It's not working now, and living with a system that expects a Primary Domain Controller when there is not one is SHEER HELL. If I could simply go back to a nice peer to peer network I'd be all right, but I can't, and as a result some of my machines can see others, some can't, Windows 2000 machines can import and export from Windows 98 machines, but Windows 98 machine can't get to the 2000 machines, I can only print from one machine and to do that I have to suck the stuff to that machine and then print it, I can't print through it.
Once you have a domain apparently you can't kill it again, or at least not easily. That seems silly. But I certainly don't see how to do it.
Well, well. The Intel CA810E board is NOT the one to use for an NT Primary Domain Server. Reason is that NT 4.0 doesn't understand the built in Ethernet controller but it thinks it does. It blows if it tries to use its built in drivers. But -- but -- but -- you can't get to anything to install the drivers. The drivers are on E:\drivers\lan on the CD, and LO!, NT can't get down that deep there being no browse. And they are too big to put on a floppy or seemed to be for me.
So I have said to Hell with it and and am installing Windows 2000 Server to see if that will do. We are now in uncharted waters. But the worst that happens is that I scrap it, figure out a way to get the Ethernet drivers onto a floppy, and go from there. If you skip the Ethernet drivers, then it never asks for a domain name, and tries to make a domain called, you guessed it, WORKGROUP. NT Setup sucks dead bunnies through soda straws. We will see whether someone who doesn't really know what he is doing can cope with Windows 2000 Server. Something has to happen...
Well, well. Windows 2000 has odd ambiguities in its installations too. For instance it tells you that you should assign a static IP address, but then doesn't give any obvious way to do that, nor any way to GO BACK once you have discovered your mistake. It says "tsh tsh, you ought to have assigned a static address, shame on you," but as there is no "back" button at that point there ain't Jack you can do about it. I would like to find and beat senseless the people who thought that one up. They must have fun, telling people "You done it wrong, now you'll pay!"
So far I have not found out how to CREATE A DOMAIN with Windows 2000. Perhaps when it is all installed it will tell me. And pigs will fly. Well, have faith.
Having faith works, or at least so far: the system rebooted after instillation (and a lifetime of configuring), sees the net, knows what's going on, and has invited me to start setting up a domain. Needless to say it's all different from NT and I didn't understand NT all that well. But it seems to be trundling along, and I may actually be getting somewhere. We will see.
Meanwhile the net is incredibly slow for 3 AM and getting to my site to ftp this takes half a minute. Publish is impossible. It's been this way much of the day interspersed with normal activity.
Well it has asked for the Windows 2000 Server CD, began copying files, but of course also opened SETUP. Sigh. But closing the setup that opened from autorun took care of it. One would think wizards would be smart enough to DISABLE AUTORUN while they are demanding CD's but I suspect the people who design installation programs never actually DO any installations. They ought to be made to. Over and over.
Installation complete and the domain name, which isn't a . anything name (Windows 2000 Server complained about that: it wanted a fully qualified domain name for the Internet, but it took the name I gave it). Now it is rebooting. God Help Us.
If you want fast reboots do NOT, repeat NOT, use an Intel CA 810E board. I have never seen anything take this long before it decides to boot. I don't know what that BIOS does but it takes, seriously, about 3 minutes, perhaps longer -- I should time it -- before it even thinks about booting. Very odd.
Well, it's running but I am no better off. It isn't really a domain controller. Or if it is, I still can't access Windows 2000 machines from it. Windows 98 machines yes. Not the 2000 workstations. Sigh
I am where I was. The new Windows 2000 Sever is not acting as a domain controller and I am still getting the "no logon server" messages. My network is a shambles.
If there were a way to go back to my old peer to peer net, before it was "improved" with using servers as servers, I would do that in a flash. This is sheer hell. Nothing works, I can only print by sucking stuff to this one machine and printing from here, half my machines see each other but cannot access anything from each other, and nothing works. Programs on Spirit that I have relied on for years, and left there will now have to be installed locally on every machine that need them on since few machines can access that poor "stand alone" NT. Nothing works, and it doesn't look as if I can make anything work short of literally saving all the applications programs from my machines, and reinstalling everything on every machine one at a time. There has to be a better way than that but I don't know what it is.
I will get some books and learn, I guess. Now it is very late and I am very upset, and it's time to get some sleep. It will not look better in the morning. I sure wish I had my old Peer to Peer net working. The moral of this story is if you install NT 4 have some backup servers. And maybe I can create another domain over on the new Windows 2000 server, and add machines to it and go about to each machine and put it on the new domain. Then if I could just KILL the CHAOSMANOR domain I used in the past, kill it dead, erase all memory of it, I might be able to use it again some day.
Hmm. But perhaps, just perhaps, the new Windows 2000 server will let me set up another domain? A new one? With a new name? And then each machine can be added to it, one at a time... Including Roberta's downstairs which I used to be able to back up by stringing a cable down there, but now they're in the same poor shape as all the others. Hmm. A new domain name and new domain, and add machines to it one at a time? It's work, but if that will save me, why not?
And the net remains incredibly slow. But so far at least that Netwinder continues to work. But the net is so slow I may not be able to upload this.
It's 6 AM and I'd better get some sleep. I've got some new drivers for the Intel Ethernet adapter on their card. Woe that I used that card instead of one that needed a card that would have a driver disk. No, I thought an integrated Ethernet would work better. Silly. But when I get up I'll start over, repartition the disk to have a 2 or 3 gig NT boot partition, and see if I can create a Primary Domain Controller. We'll see, won't we? God knows that has to be easier than reconfiguring every machine in the house. I hope. But now I have to sleep. And once again the net is so slow I can't even connect half the time. I hate this. Intermittently the Net is jammed to congestion, then it opens normally for half a minute then jammed again. Is there an attack going on?
May 12, 2000
OK, Galahad thinks it controls a domain called Chaosmanor, it thinks the other machines are part of it, but nothing works. Windows 2000 workstations still demand passwords but there is no way to supply a password, I can't print except from one workstation, and to print anything I have to suck it up into this one, which makes paying the bills a bit difficult although I suppose not impossible. The Windows 2000 Server doesn't actually seem to be relevant to anything, and resetting machines doesn't change that.
When I had a simple peer to peer network I could accomplish a lot more. The first lesson here is that if you go over to "real servers" you are insane to have only one. You need a Backup Domain Server, and that has to be set up quickly, essentially as soon as you have a Primary Domain Server, because otherwise your simple peer to peer net will vanish.
Second, Windows 2000 Server is not only complicated, but "upgrading" to it doesn't solve your problems. I think that not only must each member of this network be restarted, but each one has to be done in as a member of the old domain, changed to something else, then brought back in. I suspect that would have to happen even if a new computer became the PDS for NT 4; the login process looks for a particular Network Interface Card, each one of which has a separate ID, and --
AHA!! Well, I am in business now. By changing my Windows 98 machines over to being in the WORKGROUP rather than logging in to a domain, they can now all see the printers, and the Windows 2000 workstations. They also see the new Windows 2000 Server; my guess is that if I put the printer drivers there instead of on a Windows 2000 workstation where they temporarily reside I could print through the new 2000 Server. At least that seems to be the situation just now. So the key is not merely to restart the systems that are on the domain, but to take the off it. Now to see what happens if I put one back on the domain and out of the workgroup...
Meanwhile the Internet acts as if it were full of molasses, and periodically I cannot reach any mail servers. I suspect this is Earthlink being jammed up. But at least my internals are no longer a complete mess. I can get at everything. In fact the only machine NOW crippled is poor little Princess, which is the primary Windows 2000 workstation, and which hasn't been taken off the network, restarted, put back on, and restarted. That's next I guess. Perhaps I'll just put Princess on as a member of a workgroup and forget about this domain business until next week when I have some time.
Good thing I tested this idea with Fergie, another Windows 2000 Professional workstation: taking Fergie off Chaos Manor allowed that machine to access anything it had once found: double-clicking on various mapped drives got to those drives including many on machines that previously demanded log-on passwords: BUT! Whereas the Windows 98 machines see the CHAOSMANOR network as well as the workgroup in Network Neighborhoods, Fergie in Entire Network ONLY sees the JERRYONE workgroup, and attempting to put Fergie back on the CHAOSMANOR domain gets first a demand that I give it a name and password of someone qualified to add members to the domain, then when that is supplied, a message that the domain cannot be found. Curiouser and curiouser. But all the previous connections and mappings now work. This has become insane, and NETWORK ADMINISTRATORS SHOULD BEWARE, workstations that have been removed from a network and in theory can no longer be part of that net MAY STILL HAVE FILE ACCESS privileges if they had it before they were removed from the Net! I don't know if this is a major security hole or not, but it sure works for me.
I can't add Fergie to the Domain either by push or by pull, but it sure can get to other computers, and couldn't before. This is all VERY mysterious.
And I really do have to get a life.
Now to pay bills and get ready for a real life.
First, though SEE MAIL for a possible security hole in Linux. Sigh. At least the net congestion seems to have cleared up.
And finally, for amusement only:
alternatively, you can point your browser to:
and type, "HR 3548" in the box marked, 'by bill
Even if today's been unusually horrific, I suspect
you'll find this amusing.
Thanks! I needed that.
And regarding the new anti-discrimination laws, I got this from someone who doesn't want to be named, but then haven't we all had this experience?
I have been on more than one narrow-body commercial flight where there was a person seated in an over-wing exit row who appeared to my eye to be far too large to fit through the exit next to them. Anyone who needed to get out of that exit in an emergency would find it firmly plugged with (possibly roasting, by then) human flesh.
I have asked flight attendants about the matter and all have said that they know it is a problem but that they "can't discriminate".
One wonders who to sue for wrongful death if a relative is killed because the exit was blocked by someone who couldn't get through it? Ah well.
Regarding Battlefield Earth, I have not yet seen a good review of it as a film. My own view is that it may be a good picture for teenagers; I don't understand teenage tastes in films. Books, yes, but most teenagers don't read books; my girl and boys all did, and it has been a generation since they were teen aged anyway. But I doubt that many of my readers will much like this movie.
One thing it is not is a tract for Scientology, and I am a bit disturbed that anyone would seriously suggest that it is. It's no more that than was Independence Day, and indeed it's a good bit like Independence Day in intent if not in sophistication. Independence Day made little more scientific sense than this picture. Both employed the modern convention that you can outrun explosions (as did Mission Impossible and a dozen other pictures I have seen recently). Neither had any scientific stuffing: that is, when Niven and I, or either of us, write a science fiction story, we have worked out in some detail the underlying science. What is possible, what is not, in that universe. In Mote we had a form of faster than light travel, and a defensive shield which are well beyond modern technology, and the FTL Drive is outside what's known of science (but didn't contradict anything known at least at the time we wrote it). We had pocket computers with wireless linkages, which was considered far out when we wrote Mote. Hubbard was not that kind of science fiction writer (if you doubt that see his 240,000 Miles Straight Up!), and when he wrote Battlefield Earth he wasn't even trying to be that kind of writer. Battlefield Earth was a romp, space opera, entertainment, and apparently there were many who liked it a lot. I never read it; not quite my cup of tea at its length.
But it was a story of pure virtue and pure evil, no complexities in the good guys and not much in the bad guys; certainly that was the way the film worked, and I'm sure the book was that way as well. Hubbard was capable of some character development and complexities, as in for instance TO THE STARS, a book that doesn't read all that well now, but which I thought at age 13 or so was the best novel I had ever read. This wasn't that kind of book. But the moral virtues in Battlefield Earth -- courage, loyalty, willingness to sacrifice oneself for comrades and a good cause -- are hardly unique to that book, nor to Scientology: Jews, Christians, Muslims, and what Dante called 'virtuous pagans' would have no trouble with the moral principles expressed in the film.
Why the villains talk like Ferengi isn't clear to me, but anti-capitalism is politically correct these days. But then bashing the bourgeoisie -- epater les bourgeoisie! -- has been the mark of intellectuals since long before Stendahl and Flaubert, and can be said to be a defining characteristic of intellectuals Left and Right to this moment. Few intellectuals are encouraged by the greed for money whether or not they think of it as the root of all evil; few thoughtful people believe a great nation can be built on the bottom line alone. (Property rights are a necessary part of a free non-religious society, and property rights tend toward economic freedom which generally leads to capitalism, which is the most efficient system for allocating investment resources to maximize economic goods production we know; but maximum economic goods alone does not necessarily make for The Good Society. It's sure a lot easier to divide up a big pie and be fair to all than to divide up a little one, though...)
Anyway, there were places in the film where I was certain that Travolta was simply having a good time, as every stage actor I know longs sometimes to say "Aha, me proud beauty!" and tie the heroine to the railroad track. Travolta got to do the equivalent in this film, and I am sure he was having the time of his life. The Director should have curbed Travolta's self indulgence to over-acting, but did not. He also shot the film at crazy angles, and the editing could have been done a lot better.
I feel a bit like AJ Budrys did trying to review Battlefield Earth as a book: there's a story in there, and it's a pretty straightforward one. How well it's presented is another matter.
The science is, well, non-existent. There are inconsistencies even within the film's universe. I doubt that the Denver Library would have all those books lying about in heaps after all those years even if the roof didn't leak; has no one heard of bookworms and silverfish? A planet blew up with shock waves that had to propagate at about Mach 50, which I do believe is impossible. Those are but two of hundreds of such details I could cite. If you want to enjoy this picture, suspend disbelief. Suspend it a LOT.
The villains' arrogance was their downfall, but one wonders why they hadn't been defeated the first time they tried conquest anywhere: they were really really incompetent as bad guys. People who are that bad at the bad guy business had ought to join a monastery as a pure act of self-preservation.
I know a number of teenagers in the audience at the Chinese Theater loved it. Most were relatives of the cast, I suppose -- they were seated in the areas reserved for Warner invitees, not where I was. I don't think many of my readers will care for this film at all.
Travolta will survive the bad reviews, and perhaps he has got some of this out of his system and will be a better actor for it. I doubt that Scientology has the clout to make this a major picture even if they try out of loyalty to Hubbard (one suspects they will) so this may be a test of that capability. If they can make this a big box office success, or even equal the success of Battlestar Galactica, I will be quite astonished. I doubt that without such support it will last long, but again I don't have any great estimate of what draws teenagers: I don't know what makes rock concerts a success either.
Finally as to my connection to Scientology, just for the (quite well known and public) record I, Niven, Charles Sheffield, Fred Pohl, Jack Williamson, Tim Powers, Orson Scott Card, Algis Budrys, Doug Beeson, Yoji Kondo, and a good half dozen more well known science fiction writers am a judge in their Writers of the Future contest. I have had my way paid to a couple of their annual awards presentations (I wouldn't have gone had I had to pay my own way, and I didn't particularly want to go anyway: on one occasion I had to get from Flagstaff where I was at a board meeting of the Lowell Observatory to New York City in about 7 hours, a feat of travel logistics that astounds me: whatever else the Writers of the Future have they have good travel agency connections). I get a few free dinners, and I got free parking for the opening of Battlefield Earth. The contest is fair and a good one for new writers; they also hold classes for beginning writers, taught by Powers and Card and Budrys among others, and I am told it is an exciting experience: I believe that. It is a matter of public record that Tim Powers is a Roman Catholic and Orson Scott Card a member of the Latter Day Saints. Doug Beeson is I believe Anglican. Winners of the contest seem to include the spectrum from Wicca through Catholic to born-again to atheist, and if any have been Scientologists it certainly played no part in the contest: we get the stories doublespaced in manuscript with story title and no author names.
Mr. Heinlein used to say that the way for me to pay him back for his help to me was to pay it forward. Apparently Hubbard had the same notions which is why the contest was founded. It is run by Author Services which is the agency representing Hubbard's estate. I presume the Church of Scientology owns the estate itself, but I don't know. I don't know who runs the Church of Scientology and I don't care. I know the people who run Author Services and I like them. Some are presumably members of the Church of Scientology. At least one is not. None of the judges are.
So much for that.
If I am kinder to Battlefield Earth than many reviewers, it's largely because I had a good time at the film before and after, and I don't see any point in piling on. The movie wasn't my cup of tea, and I doubt many of those who like my stories will care for it, but stranger things have happened.
And installing NetBEUI solved the mysterious "I can connect to it but I can't see it" problem. I put NetBEUI on Fergie and she can see all. I'll regularize next week, but we do seem to have connectivity.
Is the Internet dying? Apparently I am not the only one with problems the last few days.
On the theory that I do these silly things so you don't have to, and that it will drag in some new subscriptions just to see me look silly, I have decided to do the following.
First, tonight, I'll use Windows 2000 Server to create an entirely new domain called Chaos2000, and see just what I can do with that. Can I create accounts? Can the other machines log on to it? How hard is it to get it working?
Next week, if that hasn't been so wildly successful that I am happy with Windows 2000 Server (and wouldn't THAT be loverly?), I'll scrub Galahad (The W 2000 Server) down and install NT 4. Doing that with an Intel CA810E board turns out not to be as easy as you think, and I am reserving THAT particular story for the column. Once I get NT 4 running I can create yet another New Domain, Utterchaos, and see what happens when I take machines off the other one and put them on that. Now that I know that with NetBEUI and a workgroup I can in fact survive a long time in this mad NT/2000 universe, I'm willing to experiment.
Anyway that's all coming up. Doesn't that make you want to subscribe?
They tell me there's been a bad router and a DDOS attack on slashdot, and this may have something to do with the Net behavior I have noticed. So I wasn't dreaming... It seems crisp enough now.
May 13, 2000
I'm off this weekend. I put up enough yesterday and in mail yesterday to give you lots to think about. Now I need some family time...
Back Monday. I tried to mail to subscribers but there are too many bad addresses: Earthlink's mail server rejects the entire list when there are enough bad addresses, an obvious anti-spam policy that makes sense, but it means I have to break the list into chunks and send chunk at a time and I have not time to do that today.
You didn't miss much, I sent mostly a test message intending to send something substantial if by some miracle the list had gone through intact. I'll work on that Monday. Meanwhile, if you subscribe, do check the address: if you have given me a bad one, send me email stating CLEARLY: your name as you subscribed; when to the best approximation (best guessed month will do) email address as I now have it; NEW email address as it should be. If I can purge the list of bad addresses it may go through without further manipulations, but of course it won't. Still it's worth doing.
Anyway I am off. I have been thinking about an Intellectual Capital article on the new military: anyone notice a similarity to Macciavelli's times? I sure do.
The Net seems very crisp and fast today for a Saturday.
Have a good Mother's Day. We sure intend to.
I should be on my way out, but there's this from Eric:
There is the potential for virus that merely require viewing of the
message. No attachment has to be opened for the payload to activate. This
article has the link for the 100K update that seals the hole. For now.
I suggest you look into it. Fast.
I'm off at the beach writing.