THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 283 November 10 - 16, 2003
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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November 10, 2003
Cleaning up after the column, which is a long one this month. Lots of mail. And it's time to take Sable to the Dog Wash. She gets a muzzle for that trip. She'll let me blow-dry her but she resents being groomed by anyone else, and being a small wolf she has fairly good defences...
Is there any way to fake an order for a warehouse full of those enlargement pills to be sent to someone in government who might be unhappy to receive them? I'd love to see one of those spammers lose a huge shipment of their crap, and lose it to someone who resents getting it. I don't have any idea of how that could be done, but I am getting weary of their ingenious ways of getting past my filters to put the same stupid message in my mailbox a dozen times a day.
At this point I'd go for Empire, and Games, with spammers fed to lions and bears and wolverines, or perhaps to big wasps looking for brood hosts, preferably conscious for weeks as they are eaten from the inside by larvae... It might be worth losing the republic to see such things.
firstname.lastname@example.org is I suppose a fake but
http://dia99.biz/dia1900/vp/ is a web site that takes orders as a beneficiary of the spam. Isn't there anything that can be done about that place? What cowards we have about us that no one can rid us of
No, no, no.
All right, I shouldn't post notes made when I am in this mood. Pay no attention to the curmudgeon behind that keyboard...
November 11, 2003
Veteran's Day. Lest We Forget.
O Trinity of love and power,
It is time to walk the dog before she destroys the house: it's her job to see that these humans get their exercise and she takes it seriously. When I get back I'll address the problem of competent empire.
Let us send more troops to Iraq with the money we save by not honoring the citizens who served. Up the Empire.
Subject: Column now in Doctor Dobbs!!
Maybe I didn't look deeply enough, but I couldn't find anything on your site
to indicate your column is now appearing in Doctor Dobbs.
It was a pleasant surprise to see your name on a newsstand again!
Thanks. Yep, I'm there now.
Another web site served by egregious spammers:
I presume the heroes bled to protect their rights to send spam with periods in words so they can avoid filters. Something terrible, physical, and public will have to happen to people like this before it all stops.
I have over 70 of these from the last few days. I do not want to be a porn start or a pr0n star or any other kind of person of interest to these people. What cowards we have about us.
Sign of the times: Japanese girls wear skirts that are not see-through but are painted to look that way. I was going to post one but I was embarrassed. They are very realistic.
I am told that this was a hoax done with PhotoShop. I sure hope so.
5 seconds on the web gets you
Frankly, because I don't like the place a lot. They're often politically correct, and I have never been fond of hanging around professional debunkers; surely a failing, but one I am not likely to change. I don't have to worry about deceiving people here. Someone will tell me...
Lots of people. It's odd how much mail I get on things like this: often more than when there's something important under discussion. Odd.
Joe Zeff points us to:
November 12, 2003
I am adding scenes to Burning Tower. Our editor loves the book, but thinks it needs a final chapter, and Roberta has suggested some ways to tone up some of the romantic scenes throughout the book, so I am doing that.
Meanwhile I found a bad bug in Office 2002 and trying to fix that has ended me with downloading all kinds of stuff, and that needs original disks, so I am about to put the disk images for FrontPage, Visio, and Office 2002 on the main system. Then I can get back to work.
It's a shame that you can't install "critical security updates" without the original installation disks. Actually, you can: you just need the images. This is explained in the upcoming November column. See www.byte.com in a week or so.
And I have to pay bills, and get ready for COMDEX.
And I see the Republicans are finally making the Democrats actually DO the fillibusters over judges. They should do this more often. Senate Rules were not really intended to stop judicial appointments, and it ought to be a pretty extreme thing for a minority to have that kind of power: to be able to prevent a vote.
Calhoun with his "concurrent majority" had a theory of this sort, but that was pretty well ended by the War Between The States, or Civil War or whatever you care to call it: the point is that the Constitution specifies that a majority of the Senate confirms judicial appointees. If you want that to be 2/3, amend the document...
November 13, 2003
We went for our walk this morning. The air was clear because of mild rain (mild here, rainstorms with half a year's rain in some parts of the basin). And of course the gardeners with their gasoline powered leaf blowers were out to stink up the air, and construction crews with diesel powered cement and stucco mixers.
Leaving out the advantage of rakes over those stupid noisy blowers (as far as I am concerned, maiming for a second offense of using one of those would be appropriate, saving beheading for the third) why can't we require all this junk to be electric? Why must we have the noise and soot and stink in pleasant neighborhoods? Isn't that what government should be for, making life pleasant rather than putting everyone at the mercy of the market that says that making things cheap for one person at the expense of everyone else is not only legal but laudatory?
Noise, smells, and burning gasoline, and all for worship of the market...
I am working on the costs of competent empire. I have my agent talking to the publishers about whether they are serious about a book on this.
And it's time to work on Burning Tower. There is a lot of mail today.
A few administrative matters.
Thanks to all who subscribed or renewed recently. I haven't acknowledged those for a week or so, and my apologies. I'll get to it shortly.
For those who wrote asking for specific consultations: you can't afford my rates for individual consultation. If I find an interesting generic problem in your mail I may try to find advice for you, but I can't tell you how to do things. I'd do nothing else if I did.
Is there no way to find and eradicate the creep who keeps sending the advertisements with the periods in all the words? Surely there is a way. I do not normally have impulses to raw brutality, but this creature has managed to arouse them in me.
I have caught up to the beginning of the month with subscription recordings; sorry to be so long on this. Much to do today. I'll get at more tomorrow. Thanks for patience all of you.
Mr. St Onge your mail is returned. No reason given.
November 14, 2003
Getting ready for COMDEX. I worked until all hours on Burning Tower. Now I have to do errands.
I could wish he had come up with that before we committed $80 billion and more to it. I'd like to see us use that money to buy energy independence ($40 billion for 40 1000 megawatt nuclear power plants; $10 billion to develop ways to use electricity for many of the systems that use petroleum; the rest to develop single or two stage to orbit reusable low cost access to space and buy a fleet of those ships). I blush to say it, but $80 billion is real money. But better spend it and get out than continue down the road to empire.
The IDF hasn't been successful with the slash and burn tactics of occupation of Judea and Samaria. We won't make it work in Mesopotamia, either. Neither we nor the Israelis are ruthless enough. Turks, Sunni Moslems, they can be ruthless. A monarchy could be ruthless. We're just not built that way, and we don't want to be, either.
Query from someone who knows: I need two numbers.
1. What does it cost today to keep a fully equipped combat soldier in Iraq? Logistics, pay, support units, the whole cost. In fact it would be useful to have both the single number and the number given that you have to rotate him home and replace him so there needs to be another, or part of another, on standby.
2. What would that cost be for a combat officer? It's not so important to differentiate that cost from the enlisted soldiers for combat troops.
3. What would that cost be for a constabulary trooper? Constabularies are equipped differently from our present combat soldiers because not expected to engage armor at distance. They do not have all the other requirements for defeating a modern organized military; constabularies need lots of intelligence, and lots of light infantry firepower, and good tanks but the tanks need not be Abrams with tank vs. tank capability. The constabulary tanks need to be able to engage mines, car bombs, light infantry, that sort of think; but they don't need single shot kill at 4 kilometers. Hussars, not cataphracts...
4. What would that cost be for a constabulary officer? Officers have to be U.S. citizens and loyal to the U.S., meaning that they must be rotated home at reasonable intervals. Constabulary enlisted can be non-citizens promised citizenship at the end of an 8 or 10 or 19 year enlistment (the Roman model: citizenship and land on retirement). While you can have non-citizen junior officers you probably don't want them: the Constitution makes it easy to differentiate. In the constabulary case in particular enlisted rank should be entirely dependent on the constabulary officers (see Cameron's Anatomy of Military Merit for details). One presumes the cost of constabulary officers would be about twice that of the enlisted troops, and I'll use that as a first cut.
Anyway, speculation on the above costs from readers who have given this some thought (I don't need wild guesses; I can make those easily enough) would be welcome.
These machines have minds of their own, don't they? This Morning I went out to buy the Atlantis expansion of Dark Age of Camelot. Naturally I can't log on to DAOC now. I can't tell you if the expansion works or not.
I tend to be a fairly linear person (my wife would say compulsive) and when I set out to do something I want to get it done. Obviously the thing to do here would be to abandon this and go back to it another time. So naturally I'll keep trying to get to DAOC to see if the new expansions I spent my money on actually look good. And if the silly thing works at all.
One thing you definitely have to install the updates that Windows is insisting on today. Then you have to reset. Why that affects the ability to get to the on line server for DAOC I am not certain, but resetting the machine does get me there, and 12 megabytes of download updates to the new expansion. None of that happened until I reset.
Hah. OK, I am at an activation screen. It demands a number, but naturally has not transferred the focus to that window so typing anything doesn't work. Let's see, ok, click on the entry window and I can enter a 50 digit number...
You have to REALLY BE DETERMINED to play this game, don't you?
Activation successful. New splash screen -- ah. All my characters are alive and well. Last night's update wiped out my action bar bindings -- yep. Same this time. Toolbars empty entirely. Well that's fixable.
And it's pretty. I have to say I like it. Now that it is running.
Hmm. SO the GeForce 4 won't render it. Downloading new drivers. I'll have to put an ATI board in here if the drivers don't work properly. Or change to a different computer as my games machine.
So the Democrats are calling a black woman judge a Turkey. That ought to be interesting.
Turkey is she?
November 15, 2003
In Las Vegas for Comdex
Had dinner with Alex, Richard, and Frank. Uneventful drive.
November 16, 2003
COMDEX: A pale shadow of its former self. Registration and the Press Room are in the Main Hall, at the back, where the small booths used to be. We have not been permitted to go to the main hall. I used to do that on Sunday to watch setup but that was when BYTE had a big booth and we were giving the Best of Show Awards.
There are no temporary buildings in the parking lot, which is itself EMPTY of cars.
The industry is sort of recovering (although the DMCA and the DOC and various regulators and lawsuits are doing their best to retard that), but the industry show business is not recovering and probably never will. The old Glory Days are gone. But Lexmark has provided a really neat Press Room with lots of decent facilities. LVCC is pretty. The monorail in Las Vegas is running although I don't know where: it goes down Paradise BLVD to the Hilton, past the walking distance place I am staying. I see cars on it but where it stops and what iit costs I have no notion.
Tonight I will be at Belagio for a press show.
The Ethernet connection in the Press Room works wonderfully when it works but intermittently it just stops.
It is doing that a lot now. IPCONFIG /release then renew seems to fix it.
Wireless is a mess, and not really connecting properly.
Lots of mail. And that's the word from Las Vegas...
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