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Monday, March 24, 2008

0055: Back from our midnight walk. We went an extra mile up Ventura to Coldwater Canyon and back, because we didn't get an afternoon walk today. I enjoy these midnight walks a lot. I get a lot of thinking done. Sable gets to play werewolf, snarling and running in circles, generally under someone's bedroom window. I've never had anyone come out to see what is going on, but I wouldn't be surprised if it happened.

This morning on the way to church Roberta noticed that the largest real estate office in Studio City is for lease. I walked past it. They still have the big clock that shows the time and temperature, but the clock is off by half an hour. Real estate offices folding. ReMax on the Boulevard. Astonishing. I also note that Risotto, my favorite local Italian restaurant, is back. It closed a year ago; apparently the successor vanished and it's back. At least it looks exactly the same as I recall it. We will have to visit soon: I sure hope it's back.

There are people sleeping in sleeping bags on the sidewalk on Ventura near Laurel Canyon. That is reasonably new. There were three, each with a shopping cart, sleeping bag, and a few other possessions.  Count your blessings.

My right ear popped again on our walk, and for half an hour I could hear. It seems to have closed up and has louder tinnitus now, but the fact that I can hear is encouraging.


1410: back from Zapping. On our morning walk it was all I could do to get around the 2 mile course. Debilitated. Don't want to talk to anyone. Not fit company for anything or anybody. Ears ringing. And I have errands to do this PM. 

Stop whining and count your blessings. There were three hairless women in the treatment waiting room. I have hair. It's white although Roberta says there's a bit of a blonde tinge to it. But it's hair.

It's time to reinstall Vista on Roxanne. I also have a CD only drive I intend to put in there; maybe it will see CD's on that? But the Vista Ultimate I have is a DVD disk. Need to burn that, I have an image, which I have got over to Imogene the iMac 20"; she'll burn the image just fine.


Subject: Exile - and Glory  by Jerry Pournelle available for pre-order on Amazon.


--- Roland Dobbins

If you like, go order a copy. Meet Dan Alderson, among others. Find out about Nerva engines. (Yes, it's an old story, but it's not out dated; it's about starting an asteroid civilization.) Needless to say you will see this announcement again.


The new subscription system works well, apparently. My thanks to all who have recently subscribed or renewed. It's appreciated. Believe me.


The bailouts of house flippers and the over-paid finance and loan company executives continue. Understand that when they inflate the currency, they tax: fixed incomes; Savings and pension funds; certificates of deposit; and indeed any saving that isn't geared to inflation (like gold). All this because the Country Club Republicans just couldn't resist spending like drunken sailors in port. Of course the Democrats would probably have done even more reckless spending, but then they always said they would. The Republicans didn't run on a Big Government platform. They just had one, in secret.

Bush, now McCain (it's his turn). Indistinguishable Country Club Republicans. The one thing is that McCain is apparently honorable; he has made promises; I think he will keep them. We need to get him to make some more. He knows he cannot win without the conservatives. He also knows that Obama and Clinton are far worse for the country than he is.

It's game, and it needs skill to pay it. Blackguarding McCain is not a good thing to do, and that is not what I am doing. He is who he is. But he is a man of his word, and he has pledged his word on important issues.

We need to extract promises and get on with electing him. This is a reasonable time to send him some money, too. But not a lot. The idea is to keep him alive but hungry...

He isn't one of us and never will be, but we can live with him. And we'll have to.



Has some interesting things to say; look down at where it talks about the SF writers, Niven and I in particular. Not sure whose view of the meeting is reflected here, but clearly we're resented. Admiral Cohen has a different view. Indeed I have a nice letter from the Undersecretary thanking me for my participation.




Can anyone tell me where OLMAPI32.dll resides on a Vista machine? The Vista search is impossible for me, and my control panel does not have an Add or Remove Programs entry. If it does I can't find it. My drives don't want to believe they exist half the time.

Attempting to open Outlook 2007 on the Vista machine gets an error involving OLMAPI32.dll but I can not find that file. I can't find a source of that file. Can someone send me a copy of that file that is known to work with Outlook 2007? 

I really would like to just go to the Mac, but I have some residual requirements here. In particular I need to get Office 2007 working but the OLMAPI32 error has me stymied.

VISTA really sucks.


Now I can't even get Vista to see a DVD. I put in the DVD and out it pops again. And meanwhile I cannot find that OLMAPI32.dll anywhere on the machine. I know there are about a zillion internet articles on this, but none of them seem comprehensible to me, which is probably a measure of what's wrong with my head. But until I figure out what is the deal with OLMAPI32.dll I won't be able to do anything with Office 2007 Ultimate.

At some point I need to blow up this Vista machine and start over. It probably will take some new hardware, and reformatting, and starting from bare metal. But until the OLMAPI32 nonsense is solved I can't do that yet.

Blooking Hell.


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Tuesday,  March 25, 2008  

0130: It wasn't a good walk tonight. I managed to fall in the street and remove some skin from the backs of my hands, nothing serious but it will take a long time to heal. And some madman almost hit me while I was crossing a street on a green light. He was probably drunk. He was certainly speeding. Ungood. Double plus ungood.

I need a way to know when a Mac has made a real copy of a file, and when it has only done so virtually by playing with pointers. I thought I had copied the ISO of Vista Ultimate to the Mac, but I can't find it now. So before my walk I started the transfer again. It said it would take about and hour, which seems beastly slow on a gigabit Ethernet. But when I got back from my walk it said 41 minutes to go. Of course the machine went to sleep while I was out. I am wondering if that's what happens: the machine goes to sleep and file transfers stop? Surely that's a bug, not a feature?

I now have 13 minutes to go to transfer that file. I'll then burn an image. I already did that, but the Mac didn't want to close the burn, I never saw a verification, and I suspect it was trying to operate with a virtual not a real file. In any event the disk didn't work, or I don't think it did. So I am starting over.

I sure wish I knew something about the OLMAPI32.dll file. Hmm. I have Office 2007 working on at least two ThinkPad laptops. Perhaps I ought to go search for that file on one of those machines.


Well, I can't open Outlook on Titan, a Titanium ThinkPad. It used to work. I have not installed anything on it, so clearly a Microsoft update broke it. This is ghastly.

Fortunately I am operating on Alexis with Outlook 2003; all machine with Outlook 2007 seem to have been crippled. The message on Titan said OLMAPI32, and mentioned a messaging program that might have been what broke Outlook. Since I don't use messaging and have never asked for any such program, this too must have come from an automatic update.

This is ghastly. Microsoft seems to have deliberately broken the system. I'll have to look into this. If it happens to me it must happen to others.


1105   Our morning walk went well. Time to go get zapped. I think I have a handle on the OLMAPI disaster.  I will also install on the VMware XP on the iMac 20. If that goes well I will put in XP on the Air under either VMware or Parallels and put Office 2007 on that as well. Not that the Air really needs it: Office 2008 for the Mac works and it's all I really use. Word 2008 to be exact.

But now it's time to go.

I'll do a full symptoms report this afternoon. And I have in my head most of what I need to do an essay on education and what has to happen.


1401: After morning walk, Zapping, and lunch. I bought a Burgher King Whopper with bacon and cheese, fries, and a milk shake. If that gut bomb doesn't stop my pound a day weight loss, nothing will. It was delicious, too. But more to eat than I have had for lunch in a year. Sure was good...

I wrote up a symptom description in the Kaiser waiting room. It was intended in part to be sent to my physician and physician advisors.  I'll get that in here shortly. Meanwhile:

Here is the new subscription button.

Never mind. I can't transfer the image. For some reason I am told that permission to transfer the image it denied. Makes no sense, but why not? Everything else is going wrong. I really hate this. Why would a button image be forbidden to me to send by ftp? But that's what is happening.  And of course everything on this machine is working like molasses has been poured into it. Anyway I have wasted enough time on this. I will have to make a button.

Let us try one more time:


I wrote this at 1130 in the Kaiser Atrium waiting room.

Symptoms Tuesday 25 March 2008

 Not disoriented but a bit in that direction: things are a bit strange. I drive carefully. Near vision is not good, but by near we mean 3 feet or less, not driving distance. I see all right to drive. And  I think all right. 

I ate like a mule yesterday including a burger with fries, yet lost a pound. Blood sugar is all right. I hike 1.8 miles in the morning and about 3 miles at midnight, and that helps me sleep; I get a lot of thinking done on the midnight hikes and I like them a lot.

 Tinnitus is bad in right ear just now. It comes and goes, sometimes very bad, sometimes almost negligible. Pulse pounding is rare and almost never severe; it used to be frequent and frightening.  Sometimes right ear “pops” and I can hear in it. Usually I hear almost nothing in that ear. The fact that I can sometimes is encouraging.

 Should I be taking Atenol? I have the prescription, but I have taken none lately since my blood pressure is very good, and last lab test showed mild anemia. It seems unreasonable to lower already low blood pressure.  I have neglected my statins and should resume taking them. My theory has been that my liver is working pretty hard already and adding more stuff may not be wise. On the other hand, cholesterol can kill too. 

I am wondering about fish oils and other beneficial oils, which I used to take regularly. Then there are the anti-oxidants, particularly SAMe and CoQ10; I have studied the literature and I am pretty sure they are beneficial, but whether they are getting in the way of recovery from radiation therapy is another story. I need to think on this and get advice from physicians.

Note to well-wishers who see this: I am in consultation with some excellent physicians in addition to my Kaiser physicians, and while I am very grateful for your good thoughts and prayers, I am not in an experimental mood here: I know there are alternative medicine approaches to this unknown tumor in my head, but I am not minded to try them. The evidence is that this treatment is working. My symptoms are improving. I feel better. My major complaint is enervation and that is pretty clearly a result of the hard X-Rays I get daily; when those stop and the deadwood begins to clear from my head it will be time to look into what to do next. So please: I do not need long stories on alternative medical approaches, at least not now, and my apologies to those who took the trouble to send them and received no answer, or only short shrift. 

I usually get here at 11:30 and I am out before noon, but today our walk started late because I got up at 0900 having awakened at 0500 and worked an hour. I am glad of extra hour sleep. Slept reasonably well in my two shifts of about 3 hours each.

Symptoms: I am sure this is the steroids, but I do not have the excruciating pains in my neck, the phony sinus pain on right side, and the hip pains, all of which were due to degenerative arthritis in neck and hip.  The right hip is still a bit painful but rigid attention to stretching keeps it under control, and I have hardly any pains in my neck and shoulders at all. That’s the steroids, which cause indigestion,  a small price.

At the end of the week the radiation stops and we give my system a chance to clean up the wreckage. I can hope that I will get some energy back. All told I am in pretty good shape.


Now the Mac wants to drive me mad. It won't send mail and has some mysterious messages about unable to reach servers. I don't understand any of it so I tried to shut down. It says I can't shut down because I haven't dealt with the mysterious server message. Pulling the plug shut it down. We will see if a power reset fixes things.

Of course it means I will have to restore all the network connections. There are things to hate about Macs.

But now it is coming back up. There is the usual incomprehensible thing about stuffit and other mysterious ikea message I do not understand but which I get when the Mac comes up after I have to power cycle it. Now mail comes up and about 20 messages comes in. So it has fixed itself. Like PC's do. Just power cycle.

Feet of clay?


 The OLM problem persists. I have Office 200y on three XP and one Vista machine, and I cannot run Office 2007 on any of those. Not one.

The remedy involves uninstallations and fixes and stuff, and it is just too daunting. Why I can't just drop in a proper OLM file to the proper place is not known to me. To make it worse, Add and Uninstall Software is no longer an option on my Vista Control Panel, and I have no idea where it went. I am clearly going to have to nuke Vista and start over, but the Vista machine which replaced another main machine has become writing machine central, the network point that stores the latest and greatest of all my documents.

Now that ought to be taken over by the iMac but the problem there is that networking to and from a Mac in a PC network takes considerable time.

Worse, there is -- so far as I know -- no Mac command that corresponds to xcopy C:\source X:\destination /e/s/d/y which will copy all including subdirectories but only later files, and get them all without stopping to ask me about them.  If OS X has such a command I cannot find it. Perhaps someone knows?

Windows has some conveniences including mapping drives by drive letters. I use that xcopy a lot.

I simply have not the energy to go fix  Office 2007 on four separate machines taking about an hour each to do it. Perhaps another day. Atter tag, atter tag...

And I am going to have to get up the energy to calculate my taxes...

All this as they burn out my brains. It's a full life, Charlie


Hi Jerry,

Check out: rsync

From the source directory, this command:

rsync -aruv * ../destination

...will copy files to the destination directory with:

-a Archive mode - retains file settings including dates -r Recursive - subdirectories -u Update - only copy newer files -v Verbose

I've posted this on a blog so it will be easy to find (and correct, if required): http://andrewault.blogspot.com/2008/03/something-like-xcopy-on-mac.html

Usually, in Unix, I would use a variation of a cp command with a -u parameter, but there is no -u parameter in OS/X.


I will have to try this, but comments are welcome.



Dr. P;

Stop if you’ve gotten this already, but in Vista, Add and Uninstall is now under the Programs and Features applet in Control Panel. I too appreciate change, but for Gnu’s sake, couldn’t Microsoft leave some things alone?

Robert Grenadier


OK, maybe I can find it now. Uninstall Everything, and then put in Office Ultimate again. Boy I hate all this.


 xcopy for the mac 

Hi Jerry

The command you want to replace your xcopy is:

cp -ru * destination_dir

The -r bit is recursive and the -u is "update" if the file is newer. Your requirement for no questions is implicit in the command, unless you have permission problems of some kind - add a an "f" to the "-ru" if you have problems - the f stands for "force"

I have tested this in Ubuntu and it has been in all *nix since time immemorial - so it will be in OS X.


Kevin Crisp




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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

0024: Back from my midnight walk. No incidents. Did a bunch of notes on the iPhone notepad while walking and got off a bunch of emails to my agent and to John Carr about getting some of the old anthologies back into print.

0500: Awake as usual. With luck I'll get back to sleep.

1100: got back to bed at 0600 woke at o810. Now back from our walk. All was good for about an hour but then the symptoms began again. Time to go get zapped. I'll write up some more at Kaiser waiting room. In some ways this is worst day yet.


Symptoms Wednesday 26 March 2008

Kaiser Atrium waiting room 1133

Awoke at 0800 feeling pretty good. That lasted until I got to the breakfast table, but deterioration was fast. By the time I got upstairs the lethargy and worse had settled in. I find I can do one and only one thing at a time, in steps, linearly from beginning to end, and if anything interrupts I want to cry, Aloud. Nothing tempts me so much as to curl up in a corner and do nothing. My short term memory consists of what I can write in my log book.

Count your blessings. One is that I have the iPhone and I can do notes on it while walking. I suspect I would have more extensive notes with a Blackberry, but I have the iPhone and it does work and over time either it has learned from me or I from it because my typing on it has improved enormously, Weight: yesterday I had a Burger King Whopper with bacon and cheese, medium fries, and medium vanilla milk shake: an enormous lunch. Otherwise normal meals. This morning I was up 1 ˝ pounds, so my weight loss can be checked. Today I’ll go back to my Greek salads and other more or less healthy foods for lunch.

I am also wearing Cable Car Clothing khaki trousers I have not been able to wear for a decade. Does Cable Car still exist? I used to buy all my clothes from them, and I have wash and wear suits that I took everywhere. I’d buy some more clothes from them if I could find them but I have not seen their catalog in a decade I am sure. Pity. Wonderful store. Pricey but everything lasted for a long long time and looked good. -- Clearly they still are, but they don't seem to have the things I used to buy from them. Oh. Well.

I cannot type. It is not the fault of the MacBook Air. Khaos remains wonderful. I can’t type at home either. I find I must retype every third word or so, or else slow down a lot. If I go slowly the accuracy improves but is still bad. The horrible pulse pounding in my right ear is back. It had gone away for a while, but it returned on our morning walk. It was around a while last night, too. Not as severe as it was before the radiation started, so there’s considerable hope here.

Three more Zaps, then I get some time off to let the system flush out the dead tissues – one hopes there are dead tissues – in my head. Perhaps that will clear the symptoms. Meanwhile count your blessings…

= = = = = = = = = = =


Things to do: Get an Intel quad or dual quad MB and put into the Diana case; install Vista Ultimate SP-1 from scratch and copy everything from Roxanne to it. It’s a step back, but needed. Get a second Intel system going and do Windows 2008 Server. We want to look at this as a server replacement for my ancient system, but we also need to test out Windows 2008 Server as a work station OS.

And they have just called me for my zap.


2004: Roberta is watching a Lakers game. I have problems sitting still long enough to watch much on TV. Agitated ennervation.

I don't trust myself to decide things just now, but I probably do want a Mac Pro dual quad for both XP (maybe Vista Ultimate?) and of course Mac OS X. With a big monitor. Consolidate all these functions onto one machine and be done with it.



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Thursday,  March 27, 2008

0245: Got to bed at midnight, woke a few minutes ago. Indigestion mostly. I expect I will be able to get back to sleep.

XCOR held a big press conference at the Beverly Hilton yesterday. Alas, it was at 10:00 and there was no way I could get there and go get zapped, so I missed it. It went well, and Rich came over in the afternoon not long after I got back from Kaiser.

XCOR Lynx announcement.


Rich quoted in the AP article:

ALeqM5g4ObtqVBGOx6m6ZZd3U3mSRT49jQD8VL915O0 >

--- Roland Dobbins

See also




The important part is the development of reusable spacecraft. I still believe that Single Stage To Orbit is the best way to go, but I am prepared to be shown that a low-speed recoverable first stage that carries the orbiter to high altitude where the engines are more efficient will be part of the first operating reusable orbiters.

The XCOR approach of reusable to sub-orbital flight is the proper way to go. Fly the darned things and learn from that. Our SSX concept, which led to the DC/X, was intended as an incremental system and would still be a proper X-project for USAF or DoD. It's only the cost of the Iraq war that keeps this from being funded. Of course the X-33 scam ate the last x-project funding without any tangible results; but the "X-33" was a political thing, never a proper x-project at all, and while some of the Lockheed people involved fooled themselves into thinking the company wanted to build something that flew, most of us knew better. Certainly General Graham and I did.

XCOR is not relying on government grants, and isn't trying for one big project. It's a long term way to space, as opposed to the (still valid) approach I described some years ago when it looked as if Speaker Gingrich and Bob Walker would actually do this.

My son Rich is a VP of XCOR.


0615 I awakened, began to write, and this machine promptly reset itself. It came back up with the useless error message from Microsoft.

I copied all my outlook files to another computer, then ran VOPT. All seems well again. This is an AMD Duo and has had a few problems in the past.

It is now 0745. Time to get dressed.


The iMac reported that it was not connected to the Internet. It said it wasn't connected to the Ethernet. The connection was there and unchanged from when I went to bed. The iMac just didn't see it.

I used the big power switch. It works for PC's and it works for Macs. Why these machines need to be power cycled every few days is not known to me, but it does help. I had thought that Macs wouldn't need that, but this one needs it more than the PC's do. And every time it comes up after that with a thing labeled ikcd.sea that is a text file of some kind but unreadable except I can see the words stuffit and Aladdin systems. Since I have never installed any stuffits or Aladdin systems I have no idea why it is there, or why, after the system locks up and I have to power cycle, I see that screen. Oh. Well.

I have no idea what it means.



A good morning walk brisk. Now for early Zap. And then see what energy I have to get anything else done.

I do seem to be keeping up.


Symptoms Thursday March 27, 2008

10:58 Kaiser Atrium waiting room

Good walk this morning. Brisk. Roberta had a meeting, but our friend Cat came over so I didn't have to walk alone.

There is a staff meeting today so all the Noonish appointments have been squeezed down to early, and the place is crowded. Easy to count blessings. But everyone is cheerful.

Tinnitus in right ear is as bad as ever was, and I think there is a faint zing in my left. Pulse pounding a bit last night on midnight (well, 11:00 to 11:55) walks last night but none today. Yesterday was the worst bout of lethargy I have ever had in all my life, and it took every ounce of will power to do the midnight walk.

But!!! I can close my right eye. Many of the Bell's Palsy symptoms are gone!! My smile is almost symmetric. Hearing in either or both ears comes and goes, but the fact that it comes at all argues persuasively that the ability is still there and will return when whatever is pressing on things is gone.

Woke at 0615, did some web site maintenance, and got dressed; no energy problem and brisk morning walk 1.8 miles all on flats in Studio City triangle (formed by Laurel Canyon, Ventura Blvd,. and Laurel Terrace Drive which curves between the Canyon and Ventura, becoming Whitset when it gets to Ventura Blvd.).  So it is possible to recover from lethargy. That's good to know.

Feeling pretty spry, actually. Only two zaps to go. Then recovery, and I hope that goes well. Perhaps the small sores on my hands, and the sunburn inside and outside my ears will heal up. I am looking forward to it.

Of course I must Pay The Bills, and Do The Taxes, both daunting tasks in my present condition, and I must Deal With The Time Vault.

And I need to decide on buying the Mac Pro as the consolidating main machine. That will take about 20 Platinum Subscriptions. The good news is that this is possible; we are getting new subscriptions daily, and maybe two a day are Platinum. Thanks!

It’s the new form of writer independence, I guess. Support by readers means no dependence on anyone, and certainly not by advertisers.

Do understand, this is still the Small Systems Journal: I have adopted the Mac as a good way to get work done, but I am not entirely neglecting the PC, and I will be doing new from the ground up systems for Vista and Windows 2008 Server. At the moment I do find it easier to work with Macs, but I am not abandoning PC.

Other news: We are arranging to get all 4 volumes of The Endless Frontier series published again, at least as eBooks . I have John Carr, formerly Senior Editor at Chaos Manor and the managing editor of almost all my anthologies, working on the administrative details. Imperial Stars will also come out, and we are trying to arrange reversions of There Will Be War. Getting all my older books and anthologies back in print, mostly through Baen Books, which is fitting.

= = = = = = = = =

Khaos is well worth carrying. I have managed 400 words so far, and I would not have had that if I were not carrying the Mac Book Air. I do have a MacBook Pro and I will carry it for comparison, but we already know the outcome: there is little to nothing I need doing in this waiting room or in a coffee shop that the Pro can do that the Air cannot do; and I am far more likely to have the Air with me. It is truly the computer you have with you.

As for cost effectiveness, if I get 17 hours of work that would otherwise not be done because I had no computer with me, the Air has at least paid for herself; and of course it only takes preserving One Big Scene as I see it play in my head to more than pay for the investment. In other words, whether the MacBook Air is cost effective depends on your habits. How often do you go out, and want to write, and need something to write with? Check Email wirelessly. Do web site management? Anything that isn't CPU intensive like video editing? The Air is the computer you are likely to have with you. It works, it is convenient, and it is vary cool.

And they have just called me to be zapped.


1513: Home after lunch. I had just eaten lunch when Niven came over to see how I was and invite me to go to lunch with him. He's just back from Israel. We had a nice talk and as he was leaving my daughter Jenny came in: she's just back from vacation in China, one the Big River in a cruise through the Gorges. She's impressed. Things are happening,

And in Chunking ( I forget the modern spelling) where we flew airlifts over the Hump and sent in the Burma Road, they have not forgotten that the Americans liberated China from the Japanese. They have not forgotten that at all.

More another time. Jenny is a very astute observer, and I am absorbing her impressions of The New China.



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Friday,  March 28, 2008

Jenny, Alex, and Frank were all here for dinner and a walk afterwards, so I did not get to the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society meeting; first one I have missed in a while. Alas, on our walk I lurched and fell and got a couple of scratches and bruises on my right knee. Not sure how that happened. I walk that route at midnight and don't fall.

But my balance seems to be affected by the Zaps. On the other hand I can close my right eye as well as my left. Hearing comes and goes. Apparently things are shifting around in there.

Last Zap at Noon Today!  No more Zaps are coming, hurrah! At least not until I have had a period of recovery. With luck there will be recovery, and I'll get some of my senses back to normal. With a lot of luck that monster in my head will be pretty well gone. Then I have to wean myself off those steroids, which will may or may not bring back my degenerative arthritis hip and neck pains. That may not be fun. But one thing at a time. Meanwhile my knee and hip do hurt a bit from the fall.

I guess I need to go to the Apple Store and order a Mac Pro dual quad basic machine. While there I can look into the 30" monitors as opposed to a pair of smaller ones. I will also be setting up a Core 2 Quad PC to run Vista Ultimate SP-1. Oddly enough I don't feel particularly daunted by this, which means the funk I was in most of the week seems to have passed.

I have set up  the Time Vault. It turns out to be incredibly easy. It is now the Time Machine for Khaos the MacBook Air, and the first Time Machine backup is happening now; it's going to take all night, 19 GB by wireless. I should have set up the Ethernet connection. On the gripping hand, I have nothing for Khaos to do until 11:00 tomorrow when she gets put into my nylon musette bag with Ultimate Strap and we go off to get Zapped.

Regarding that bag: I bought it, and I presume that it will appear on my next American Express statement so I can find out where. I can't find it again on the Internet so I can't tell you how to get one. It's sort of the ultimate in musette bags: lots of pockets and compartments, just the right size for the MacBook Air. My wife thinks it is ugly because it is a gold ballistic nylon, but I like it. I will probably eventually move to a leather black messenger just for appearance. The bag I have has everything but a label: there is no sign of a label including place of manufacture. Nothing! Nothing! It is extremely well made, with webbing reinforcements in the right place, and all told about as well designed as I can imagine. As I recall I paid for it and got no acknowledgment of the order: it just came a few days later. And I can't figure out where I ordered it or or how I found it in the first place. Ah, well.

One thing: The site had "the Ultimate Strap" as one offering. It is a very substantial shoulder strap.

And it is late, and time to see if I can sleep.


0745: Time Capsule connected by wireless takes forever!!  It will not be done with its first 19GB Time Machine backup until supper time tonight having been started at midnight last night.

Apple sort of warns us http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1175 but it takes longer than overnight. So I will leave Khaos behind this morning and take my Kindle to Kaiser for The Last Zap. I have errands afterwards anyway.

No fun indigestion all night and this morning. Not much I can do about it: I have eaten a tonne of Tums with enough relief to sleep but barely.

I am listening to Leo Laporte on Kindle: Amazon is sold out. It's taking them a while to get more. I am sure glad I have it. I love the thing. It is not backlit, so you will need a little backlight -- I have not got one -- to read in a dark airplane. But the Kindle is cool. Very much so.


14:15 Back from My Last Zap.

They gave me the Mask as a souvenir. I'll hang it on the wall. I saw two radiologists (both strangers I had never met) after that last session, but my next appointment is weeks away: too far away I think but I will see what I can accomplish by email to the oncologists. For the moment the objective is to let my system carry away all the junk in my head so they have a chance of seeing what's left after the Zaps. It would be pointless to do anything but monitor symptoms until the mass of dead stuff is removed; scans would be useless, and symptoms can be monitored by email as well as in person.

Symptoms change wildly. Today it's not good balance. On the other hand my vision is not as fuzzy. I do have some pulse pounding in my right ear, but less tinnitus. I seem to have more energy than I had yesterday and a LOT more than I had Wednesday when I was just plain drained.

I have ordered the equipment for building a VISTA system (Core 2 Quad) and I am about to order the Mac Pro "sweet spot" system with a good video card so that it will do games well. Those two will become the main systems here, with the Mac being the candidate for primary; but we'll see. I continue to do silly things so you don't have to.

I continue to log symptoms and progress and mental states, and it is possible I can whip this up into a decent book on how to get through all this stuff. Of course I have to have a happy ending before any sort of book makes sense; but we have many reasons to expect that result. Now all I have to do is not starve. (Yeah, with all this new equipment? But in fact it is pretty clearly a good investment, I did not have to pay for the key Mac stuff, that being bought for me by a consulting firm that wanted my opinions on the iMac, iPhone, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro; so I didn't pay for those, and as to the Mac Pro I have memory and disk drives from Kingston, Seagate, and Western Digital.

I have recommended Kingston since the 1980's and I have yet to have any regrets about doing so; I have always said that buying premium memory is the right investment. Memory errors are rare, but when they happen the trouble shooting is really difficult: horrible is not too strong a word. Premium memory is insurance against really difficult problems. And I continue to recommend Kingston memory.

I have also found Seagate drives work just fine, and have for a decade. There was a period when they had problems but that was long ago. As to Western Digital, I removed them from my recommended list a few years ago, but I am persuaded that they have overcome their quality control problems, and I am willing to install them into my main systems. More on these as time goes on.


The MacBook Air (Khaos is her name) is still loading itself into Time Machine hosted on the Time Capsule. It had 19 Gigabytes to send, and began about midnight last night. It is about half done. I had never thought is would be that slow. I am going to let it finish: I did not take Khaos to Kaiser this morning, and she won't be needed today or tomorrow, which is about how long that will take. I am assuming that after this huge uptick things will be faster. Certainly there has to be a faster way: if nothing else, using a USB port external drive, such as the Seagate Book. I will let this experiment continue, but I am not really happy with this.


Apparently the server for the nose pump is doing odd things again. Ignore the login request.

I wish they would fix that. I may have to just dump them, but the pump really works.



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Saturday,  March 29, 2008

0630: A good night, awakened about every hour by bladder but not by indigestion. No midnight walk last night, but we did have an earlier walk, errands after the Last Zap, and we all -- Jenny, Frank, Alex, and Dana were over -- went out to dinner. When I got back I was entirely exhausted and no fit company for anyone.

I have had a kaleidoscope of symptoms since the Last Zap. The primary one is loss of balance; I actually had to be helped  in walking. Since I am used to being the toughest guy you know, that is humiliating. I also get tinnitus in both ears, and it comes and goes. Speech is better, everyone tells me. Some say I sound almost normal. I know better but at least I can talk unless I get excited.

The kaleidoscope tells me things are shifting in there. I worry that no one is looking for any signs of metastasizing: since we don't know what we killed, might it show up elsewhere? But how would you know? I will get on line to the oncologists and ask, of course. Like most patients I am hardly patient; I want to know things in time to Do Something about problems. But then I was an Operations Research / Systems Analysis guy before I turned writer, and that's the way we operate.

So now the most important thing is to keep a good log of symptoms including mental states. Apologies to those who don't find that interesting: this is my day book, and that's one of its major purposes, so there's nothing for it. At least some find this useful.

I have a great deal of mail on this subject, and I am inclined to work some of it into a book about this experience. I will use some of the mail, but unless I have explicit permission to use real names I will use first names only or some other device; you need not worry about being identified. Of course that will not apply to personal friends who want identification. I will also include research into the literature and opinions/theories/speculations by physicians and others.


VMware does not work.

I can get to an XP machine but it says the network is not working, it will connect to nothing, and gives an error message telling me to click HELP find out more. Needless to say, that does NOTHING WHATEVER.

I cannot start the net in XP under VWware. I can run stuff on XP, I guess but what is the point? I can't even see any shared folders with OS X.  "The network is not present or not started." "For more information, Click Help." As I say, clicking help does nothing whatever.

I guess I will fool around with this, but it is discouraging. I wasn't feeling adventurous to being with. Now I am intimidated again.

Control Panel Network says that Local Area Connection 2 is disconnected. I am not aware that there IS a Local 2. The Mac is connected to a network.

Device Manager in XP says that VMware accelerated AMD PCNet Adapter is working properly. There is nothing about any Local Area Connection 2 being disconnected.

ipconfig says I am not connected to nothing so forget it.

I can play FreeCell just fine, hurrah. Big deal. But I don't see how to make the network work, and there is no manual I know of. Maybe I will try Parallels. I suspect, though, I just don't know what I am doing, and perhaps someone who does can help.


1230: Perhaps I am going out of my mind? Usually when I open a Finder Window I see a list of disk drives. It's under SHARED. Now I leave VMware and go to Finder, and there is no such list. Nothing. No SHARED folder or anything like it. Open Word 2008 and I can in fact retrieve a document stored elsewhere so presumably we are logged in to the net. There is a network. It's just that the Finder won't show it to me.

Nothing for it: shut down the iMac and reboot, and see if that lets me see the net. And indeed it did. Here is SHARED, and I can connect to the machines I see in it. So what in the world is going on?

But VMware runs XP in an isolated system just fine, but it doesn't seem to have any net connections, so it's not a lot of use. Now what?



OK. I had VMware set to "Bridged". Thanks to Captain Morse I now know it needed to be "NAT" which in fact makes perfect sense. So now I can connect to the other machines on my net, and also to the Internet. It gets its IP address from the regular server. That's all working now, so now to install Office 2008 Professional.

(NOTE from Monday 31 March: No, it needs to be Bridge. This is a day book and records things that turn out not to be true. There is a lot to this story, and it won't be final until it is in the column.)

AAArrgh. The Office 2008 Professional Wagged sent me is an Upgrade version! I can't install it. So I'll get out the Ultimate disk I got off MSDN and do it from that. Sheesh. Microsoft has all these different grades of software, each of them merely a crippled version of the one that people want. This is both mean spirited and bad business. Oh. Well.

Installation seems to be proceeding nicely. No. Install Cannot find a CAB file. Don't know if I burned a bad disk. I have another I'll try. But this is no fun at all.

OK it installed. It is connected to the Internet. It is activated.

Hardware says the Ethernet connector is connected. But I am not connected to my internal network and cannot transfer files from one place to another. Or I don't think I can. Except that I can see Alexis: the drive is mapped as Drive J: in My Computer. But I don't see any other computers on the network. Clearly something needs tweaking. It's almost working. Buck up, me lad: don't be intimidated. These are computers!

But someone will write about me on Schneier about how boring my columns are, and how every month it's the same column, and..

Well, so what? Someone read those columns. Someone liked them, or they wouldn't have paid me all that money for all those years. Anyway, it's time to see what to do about getting other computers to communicate. Why can we see one but not others?

Well, that turns out to be a matter of configuration. I seem to be getting it done. It's tedious but working.

I think XP under VMware is going to run properly. We'll see.

AARgh. No. Microsoft Windows Network  Chaosmanor does not see the PC computers at all. It sees one of the Macs, and itself. Something is very wrong here. I may need to blow all this away and start over.

I am connected to one computer, even though I cannot see it on the network. I can read and write to it. SO something is working, but it's a residual connection on My Computer and if I lose it I have no idea of how to restore it. That makes no sense.

And after all that it sees only itself in MY Computer Network. Aha. Wrong DMS Server . Changing that... no joy. DHCP seems wrong, too, but I don't know how to change that. Hmm. But I cannot see any computers other than the one that comes up automatically with a drive mapped -- and actually can't see it in the network, I can only get to it.


AARGH: Now I can't get to Alexis. It shows as a mapped drive. I can map to a shared folder, but I don't seem to be able to find it on the Mac. I have wasted enough time on this. Clearly setting up with VMware to use XP on the Mac isn't simple if you want networking. If you don't there's no problem. At least XP under VMware can see the Internet. I just can't DO anything with files I create on it.

So. Back to work paying bills and I'll write up some of this for the column. It's not going to be a good column, I think. Perhaps the commentator of Schneier had the right of it, at least for this column. We'll see.


19:29  After dinner. I still don't have the network working, but I am paying the bills. I have stopped trying the VMware adventure. Atter Tag, atter Tag. I'll get it one way or another.

2350: Did my bills and deposit slips. Off to bed

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

 0324: Sleepless in Studio City

I'll probably be able to get back to sleep. Meanwhile, I gather that Borders is up for sale, and Barnes and Noble are in trouble. Just the kind of news one needs to hear. The independent book stores have been pretty well finished off, with very few left and those mostly in trouble. Now the giants which have been in ruthless competition. And there's still a great deal of fallout from the Sears / Kmart debacles.

We do live in interesting times. Authors may well have no choice but to build a stable of loyal Patrons/subscribers to assure themselves of enough income to be able to do large projects. Or be born with trust funds. In the 40's, a sale to the Saturday Evening Post brought Stuart Cloete enough money -- $4,000 for a short story, think about $35,000 now or what a short TV script brings -- to let him write a novel. But that was back then when the Post was important. Now there's nothing like that except in TV and you don't get in over the transom.

Book advances keep falling. There's still money in journalism and general science, but the computer magazines are thinner every issue. I'll take this up again Monday.

Symptoms still in kaleidoscope mode. At the moment not bad except indigestion and not too much of that. Just restless. Hope to return to sleep. Tomorrow I have to do the mail bag and get going on the column. I have a good bit to report on getting VMware going, but I have no happy ending and I may have to tear things out and start over. I have upgraded the Memory in the MacBook Pro, but I have decided that changing hard drives is beyond my ability at this stage. I'll make do with what came in it, and if I need to replace the drive with a larger one I'll do it another time. I confess being daunted.

MacBook Air took almost 24 hours to do first Time Machine backup to the Time Capsule. Incremental updates are much faster. That story in the column. I also have bags and speakers and gadgets, Oh My!

0400: Time to see if I can sleep again.


0720: Slept like a log. Awake now. I have dim hearing in my right ear, which is an improvement over yesterday. Tinnitus seems to be minimal and only in right ear. Indigestion is not good, but not as awful as it has sometimes been. I guess the overall assessment is that everything is a little better than yesterday. That's pretty good news, because symptom assessment is about the only thing we can measure just now. Hmm. Tinnitus is slowly coming back in right ear even as I write this.

Today I get the Mailbag out the door. That will be in the afternoon. There is a lot of good mail, mostly on transitioning to the Mac. And somewhere in here I have to get the VMware networking problem solved. I suspect the problem is due to the way I set things up in the first place, and the solution is to blow it all away and start over. Last week the prospect of doing that was daunting. It doesn't seem so now: and that is a symptom improvement and a welcome one. After all, I do many silly things so you don't have to, and reluctance to do that would be terrible!



I am afraid I have lost my mind. I took the MacBook Air with me to church (I sit in the parking lot while Roberta does choir practice) and wrote some stuff. Now on return, the MacBook Air does not see any networked drives. None. Zero. The Finder doesn't seem to offer any way to search for them. Understand we are connected to three, (3), THREE separate wireless networks. One is the Time Machine which we ought to connect to automatically, but it does not.  Another is the usual wireless network. I believe I can connect to the Internet -- let me check. 

No. I am not connected to the Internet. I am not connected to anything. For a couple of weeks all worked. I would go to Kaiser, come back, turn on MacBook Air, and move what I had written to other machines. Not now. Now I don't have any connections. OS X sucks dead bunnies when it comes to stability. I may be able to restore things and I may not, but this is horrible.

I begin to wonder if there is any point in continuing with Macs. They are capricious, and little is consistent, and there do not seem to be any ways to force them to do something like search. There's no "My Network Place/Entire Network."

All right. I was able to connect to my normal wireless net and now to the Internet. But the Finder still sees NO other networked computers. None. Zero. Neither Macs nor PC's. I used to be able to see Roxanne, a Vista machine, and connect to it. Now there is absolutely no indication that Roxanne ever existed.

What is this about OS X that it makes life difficult to get back to where you were several days ago? It DOES TAKE A GURU to use OS X which is, after all UNIX????


The MacBook Air is useless at the moment since there is no way to get documents from it to any other machine. I only need one connection to a place that can connect to anything else, but I don't seem to be able to to that. PC's have fussbudget networks but you can force them to do things, and you can do ipconfig and find out stuff. You can find properties. OS X wants you to know the secret Mac OS X formula, and makes certain that there is no way to make the machine go do what you want; you have to learn what it wants. Phil Lemons, when he was editor in chief of BYTE, used to call the old Mac OS a "fascist system." It would be forever telling you it could not do anything for you, then forcing you to click OK to approve.

This reminds me of those thrilling days of yesteryear. I can't find a way to send to receive from the MacBook Air. I do not know how to search for what I once had. I suppose I had better bore into The Missing Manual and see if that has any instructions. After all, I did it once. What man has done man can aspire to. But I am not happy at all with this interface.


The Pharmacy Solutions server went mad again and started demanding passwords. I have commented out their advertisement. I'll look to see if they fix it and bring it back, but I think I will need some other form of linkage since they do this every now and then and it alarms people who come here. I checked and I think I have it fixed for now.


I have a bunch of email on the OS X networking, and I am going over it. I am determined to learn what the heck is going on here; it can't be that hard, and given my kaleidoscope of symptoms I suspect I am undergoing a stupid attack. I will go over all the suggestions and advice. I know I had Khaos connected to the Net so it is not impossible. What I have done I can aspire to.


1715: Well, nothing works. The Macs don't really see each other. The PC's reject logins from Macs. Now the PC's are not seeing each other. It is as if a wave of non-cooperation has swept through Chaos Manor. NOTHING wants to work.

2005: Still nothing working.


23:20                              Happy Ending

After fussing with the failures all afternoon and evening I went downstairs for some sympathy. Roberta said that it was obvious that all my stuff was telling me to take the dog for a walk and she would change shoes and come with us.

So in black anger I turned off darned near every machine in the house. We took a mile walk. I came back and turned them all back on. It all works. The Macs see the PC systems and connect to them. Everything is working smoothly. Khaos sees Roxanne and connects nicely. It is a very odd puzzle, and I am not sure I will ever understand it. God works in mysterious ways His Wonders to perform.

I didn't get smarter. Things just fixed themselves from a big storm of imbecility, all fixed by restarting the systems -- and taking a good walk.

I have another symptom report I wrote in the church lot this morning. It gets into physics and theology as well. I'll use it as the lead for tomorrow's View.

I don't have all the VMware parts working, but I'll leave those to another day. I am back in business and I can write the mailbag and column on Imogene in Word 2008.

Now to sleep. I think I will take my midnight walk with Sable first. I am pretty tired, and that ought to make it certain that I will get a few hours of sleep. When I get back I can roll over to tomorrow's date for View and Mail.

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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 weekly 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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