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Daynotes Journal

Week of 19 July 1999

Sunday, 25 July 1999 08:07

A (mostly) daily journal of the trials, tribulations, and random observations of Robert Bruce Thompson, a writer of computer books.




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Monday, 19 July 1999

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If you haven't read this site since last week, check out last week. A lot of interesting stuff was posted Saturday and Sunday, most of it about the Olympus D-400 Zoom digital camera, including an Olympus D-400 Zoom Sample Images page, which I've added still more images to for today..

* * * * *

We watched the rerun of Much Ado About Nothing on Masterpiece Theatre last night. It stars Kenneth Branagh as Benedick and Emma Thompson as Beatrice. I will watch anything Emma Thompson is in. I first saw her in Fortunes of War on Masterpiece Theatre in 1987, when she also played opposite Branagh. I knew then that she was destined for great things, and have followed her ever since. 

* * * * *

I'd planned to build at least one new system last weekend, but it didn't get done. I wasn't feeling all that great, and ended up napping most of yesterday afternoon. We did at least get some of the stuff unpacked. We plan to build Barbara's new system first. That'll be built around a PC Power & Cooling Personal Mid-Tower case, an Intel SR440BX motherboard with a Pentium III/450 CPU, 128 MB of Crucial RAM, an Intel PRO/100+ Fast Ethernet adapter, an Adaptec 2930 SCSI host adapter, a Seagate Barracuda 18 GB SCSI disk drive, a Plextor 40X SCSI CD-ROM drive, and an Tecmar Travan NS20 tape drive. The motherboard has embedded nVIDIA RIVA TNT video and Creative SoundBlaster PCI audio, both of which are more than good enough for what Barbara does.

Why SCSI on a personal system? Well, because Barbara's system is also the main data store for our network. When I'm hammering on a database or something, Barbara's system bogs down somewhat for local disk access. SCSI should cure that problem decisively. It's not that I don't have enough computers to dedicate a server to file and print duties. I have more than enough. But the thing is, I want the network data store to be on a stable system, and Barbara enforces that for me. More than once, I've gotten my knuckles slapped when I attempted to mess with her system. If I brought up a dedicated file/print server, I'd always be tempted to do something to it or to load an eval copy of some program, "just this once."

So we'll be building her new system soon. She's decided to name it theodore

* * * * *

This from Bo Leuf []: 

(Rechargable) batteries *are* confusing. I especially dislike this "memory" characteristic they have, i.e. that unless you regularly "deep-drain" them, you will get only an insignificant percentage of their capacity before voltage nose-dives. Typically that one time you really need the full capacity. Very much an issue with a notebook like mine that is almost always on an adapter. I try to remember to now and then just leave it at the "Safe to turn off" NT4 dialog, unplug the adapter, and leave the machine to self-die. Not often enough however.

It's always disconcerting to start using the computer (unplugged), to only minutes to a half-hour later get the low-battery warning. Sometimes, I plug it in, and a few minutes later everything goes into suspend mode because charging initially makes the battery voltage dip slightly.

Yes, battery life is definitely something I'll check into. I'm a bit confused about the NiMH batteries. Pournelle says he charges his for seven hours, but my kit said that it reaches full charge for one or two batteries in 80 minutes, or for three or four batteries in 160 minutes.

Very much dependent on your charger characteristics. There is a rather wide range of charging currents used in different units. More current = faster recharge = greater heat generated = increased risks.

The instructions said the batteries needed to be charged before first use, so I stuck them in the charger and fired it up. They finished ten minutes earlier than they were supposed to, at 150 minutes.

So they must have been fairly fresh from factory charge.

I'm not sure exactly what the lights mean.

Depends. Should mean that a trip circuit turns off charging at a particular cell voltage and won't resume until voltage drops to a level a step lower than this. On some chargers it may just mean that charging current has dropped to "trickle levels".

Also, the manual says they should be charged two or three times before using them.

I would assume that this is to ensure full capacity, letting internal current leakages stabilize. I.e. maybe several charges over several days. A practical suggestion may be to recharge them after each photo session for the first few times if you are using the camera frequently, as seems the case.

My usual twobits worth

/ Bo


"Bo Leuf" <>
Leuf Network,

Thanks. I think I know that NiMH batteries are much less subject to the memory effect you mention than are NiCd batteries. I've never completely figured out that problem. I've read authoritative essays about what causes the NiCd memory effect, and then others that are just as authoritative that say that no such phenomenon exists. I'm pretty sure it exists from personal experience, but further than that I cannot say.

* * * * *

This from Frank McPherson []:

I am a little bit ahead of you in that I bought a Kodak DC210 Plus about three weeks ago. I have a new Dell computer with a Sony R/W CDROM drive on it in route from Dell. At some point I would like to archive images by burning them onto CDROMs. I could just copy the files to the disk, but I am thinking that it would be nice to include some nice/cheap image viewing software on the CD as well. Do you have any plans for archiving pictures to CD?

Frank McPherson, MCSE
Microsoft MVP - Windows CE
Windows CE Knowledge Center:

Yes, Kodak makes several nice digital cameras. They were one of the few manufacturers that made my final cut. As far as burning images into CDs, I haven't really gotten that far yet, but I'll probably do it. One image viewer you might want to look at is IrfanView, which you can download from any of hundreds of web sites. It's completely free, and it's what I use. It supports all common graphics file formats and makes it easy to view sequential files in a directory. You can even use it to perform some minor tweaking to image appearance.

* * * * *

This from Neil Sherin []: 

Still enjoying the website - I check it daily along with Jerry's, Tom's, Shawn's, Steve's, and Bo's sites.

Well... I got the Dual Celeron box built and decided to go for 400s. However, a problem has occurred! With Windows 2000 Professional Beta 3 and Windows 98, the system ran fine. However, I actually want to run NT 4.0 on the system.

This weekend, I tried to install NT Server (which as you can see wasn't successful, so I tried Workstation). However, after getting past the network installation portion of setup, I get a BSOD. This can happen when it either installs IIS (on Server) or when it gets to the part of testing the video adapter (on Workstation). The specification is as follows:-

2 x Intel Celeron 400Mhz Socket 370 CPUs
2 x MSI 6950 Revision 1.1 Socket 370 to Slot 1 adapters
Tekram P6B40D-A5 Dual mainboard (uses Intel BX chipset)
2 x 128MB PC-100 DIMMS

PCI Devices:-

Matrox Millenium G200SD (with 16MB)
Intel PRO 100+ NIC
SoundBlaster Live! Value

Adaptec AHA-2920C (PCI device) with the following:-

Iomega ZIP Plus
Matsushita CW-7502 CD-R

IDE Devices on Motherboard:-

IBM 10.1GB HDD - Primary Master
IBM 4.3GB HDD - Primary Slave Seagate
2.5GB HDD - Secondary Master
Matsushita CR-588B CD-ROM - Secondary Slave

ISA Devices:-

USR 33.6K Modem (non-WinModem)

Misc. Devices:-

1.44MB Floppy Drive
Microsoft IntelliMouse on PS/2 Port
IBM Keyboard
Sony CPD-100ES 15" Monitor

Any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks in advance,

Neil Sherin

Thanks for the kind words. My first thought is that your system is loaded up pretty heavily. Win98 and Win2K Professional both support full PnP, and are apparently arbitrating bus and resource issues successfully. WinNT4 does not support full PNP, and it may be that you have a resource conflict under NT4 that is causing the crashes. If I had this problem, I'd pull some stuff, re-install NT4, and then gradually add stuff back in. I'd start by pulling the ISA modem (which may solve the problem all by itself), the NIC, and the SCSI adapter. Once you install NT4 with all of those missing, check which resources are available and then try adding things back in.

* * * * *

This from Jan Swijsen []: 

>Surely, anyone who is using a digital camera also has a PC?

Almost certainly people with a printer have a PC but not everybody is running WinNT or another robust multitasking OS. If you start a lengthy print job from Win95 you notice a marked slowdown of your system if it is not super fast to begin with. And if you are using other devices off the parallel port such as a Zip drive or a scanner you run into problems if you want to use one of them. A parallel port is not an efficient multi-tasking interface. The Lexmark lets you print images off the media without interfering with the computer operations. And it doesn't cost much extra compared to other photo printers.

BTW Very good article and good pictures. And nice dogs, Kerry even smiles for the photo (or is he laughing at you?)

What I wonder is how good that camera is for landscape shots, I haven't seen a digital camera yet that could do a landscape good enough for publishing.

Other subject : Evil

You note (response to Bo) that non-violent resistance had some effect because Britain was wrong, but not Evil and that it would have failed against the Nazis.

Evil is just a human term and its meaning is different to different cultures and different times. If, for example the Nazis had actually won the war, Evil would have a different meaning.

The problem is that at the time of your action you must be able to make the distinction between Evil and not Evil. By your own action, violent or nonviolent alike, you may push your opponent and you may well start a spiral of events leading to 'Evil'. If you act violent against a non evil situation you may be perceived as evil yourself, especially if your violent action hits the wrong target. This is a problem for which I don't see a definitive answer. Violence may be necessary but it often is only afterwards that its necessity can be judged.

As Bo notes : But then again, life *should* be interesting... Rest assured, life *is* interesting 

Philosophic greetings,

Good point about the photo-printer. I run multiple high-end systems, mostly under Windows NT, and I sometimes forget that many people run older systems under Win9x.

Thanks for the kind words about my digital camera review material. Yes, Kerry is smiling, which he usually is. His severe hip displasia is the dog equivalent of severe rheumatoid arthritis in humans, and he is constantly in at least some pain, although we have him on various medications to ameliorate that. I asked the vet some time ago if we should have him put down. I hate to see a dog suffer. She said that so long as he seemed happy and still interested in life we should just treat his pain and let him do the best he can. Actually, at 11.5 years old, he's doing pretty well. Most of our Border Collies have made it to 12 or 13 years old, so it's pretty impressive that he's nearing that. In addition to the hip displasia, he has severe allergies and epilepsy. But he is a happy dog even with all those problems.

As far as using the D-400 Zoom for landscape shots, I think based on what I've seen that it would do as well or better than a typical point-and-shoot 35mm. In my experience, most people who are disappointed with their landscape shots have used a wide-angle setting in an attempt to capture the panoramic view. That's usually a mistake, as details recede into the distance. Better to use short to moderate telephoto and concentrate on one or a few interesting elements. The Olympus D-400 Zoom does have one interesting capability I haven't tested. You can shoot multiple images and stitch them together into a panorama.

As far as Evil, I think the libertarian concept of "initiation of force" defines it. Good people may occasionally wrongly initiate force, as for example a wife who shoots her philandering husband. That does not make that person Evil necessarily, although she has done a Bad Thing. But the systematic, routine initiation of force as a policy defines evil. That holds true whether the Evil is an individual who mugs people for a living, or a government that uses force or the threat of force as a matter of normal policy. Because all governments do this, all governments are Evil by my lights. Some, of course, are more Evil than others. 

The flip side of this is that it is perfectly acceptable to return force for force. So a person who shoots in self-defense is not Evil, just at those who attempted to blow up Hitler or those who assassinated Abraham Lincoln--mass murderers both--were acting within their right to self-defense. 

Sic Semper Tyrannis indeed.

* * * * *

This from ROBERT RUDZKI []: 

No the Siamese cat survived this incident only to die under the wheels of car in front of our house 9 years later, fortunately we did not witness it and it seems death was quick. He was 15 years old and slowing down and his hearing and sight were not what they were when he was younger. He now contributes to the welfare of a large pine tree in the back yard, we buried him about 3 feet deep...

Sadly our street has a lot of new traffic lately with the local economy improving even though it is residential and narrow, not everyone obeys the 25 mph speed limit. The ice cream trucks shuttling endlessly playing their jingles and low-riders blasting bass component below 20 Hz at 130 dB increase on a weekly basis it seems. It's a shame Florence, Oregon [Frank Herbert wrote Dune there] has no jobs above burger-flipper we would sell this old house and move there in a heartbeat. The weather is cooler and wetter, one summer we visited some distant relatives there in May it had gotten up to 75 F. by 1100 and all the locals could talk about what a scorcher it was... Heh, they should visit Riyadh in August, I remember 129 F. on the ramp at the airbase, you had to keep moving, wearing jungle boots because your feet would roast if you stood still the taxiways were so hot... [we had gotten waivers to wear the jungle boot rather than the regular flight all-leather boots due to the heat] Wait, I know, become a writer, work from home, one hour per day starting at noon on the keyboard and investing the money that rolls in the rest of the afternoon... =8^-)

I actually bought an O'Reily book, DNS and BIND a few months ago since I was running a port of BIND to Win NT. I only read a few chapters but I plan to read it fully in anticipation of my TCP/IP MCSE exam. 

We spent yesterday wallowing in the TV spectacle of the JFK Jr. plane crash and more on the news tonight. Naturally the many hours of coverage could be summarized easily: We found parts of the plane and luggage no life rafts since the plane had none and the passengers were almost certainly killed in the crash and if they weren't, they're dead now for sure, end of broadcast.

Sorry about your cat. I understand what you mean about wanting to move somewhere that doesn't offer work opportunities. That's one reason I became a full-time writer. I can live anywhere I want as long as I can get a decent Internet connection. As far as your MCSE TCP/IP exam, you might also want to read Windows NT TCP/IP Network Administration. We didn't set out to write an MCSE study guide, but many people have told us that they found it more valuable for that purpose than books written explicitly as exam guides. I haven't been following the crash stuff at all. I must say that I don't understand why anyone cares. The Kennedy family got its start as gangsters, and I can't see that they've much changed.

Here is a link: See the faq the editing is terrible but the facts seem good...






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Tuesday, 20 July 1999

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Great headline in the paper this morning, "Intel Executive Predicts Web Use Will Increase..." Duh. Kind of like predicting continuing sunrises or that tomorrow will be Wednesday.

Speaking of Intel, it appears their blitz to counter the AMD K7/Athlon is going into high gear. Intel will ship the Pentium III/600 and Celeron/500 at the end of this month. They're available now under NDA to distributors, system makers, and so on. In other shocking news, Intel will continue to cut prices on their processors. Actually, I think that may be a mistake. Intel may be leaving money on the table if AMD runs true to form--good technology but pathetic production. With the K7, AMD finally has a CPU that by all accounts can compete on a more-or-less equal footing with Intel's best. Whether or not AMD can execute is the question. In the past, AMD has failed to execute with regrettable regularity.

And, it appears that Intel has reconsidered its decision to support only Rambus memory at the expense of PC133. Seems that a lot of their major customers, like IBM and HP, told Intel that they'd really like to see PC133 support. So Intel reversed their position, and will apparently be modifying their new chipsets to add PC133 support. The share price of Rambus plummeted $14 on the news. 

My guess is that Rambus is a dead product, although I could be wrong. PC133 (and even PC100) is perfectly adequate for today's systems. Throughput is not the bottleneck now, and current implementations of Rambus have no better throughput than SDRAM anyway. The real problem is latency, and Rambus does nothing to help that. I think that PC133 will carry us for the next year or two, and will gradually be replaced by the non-proprietary Synchronous Link DRAM (SLDRAM). I'm sure that memory manufacturers hope so. They don't want to pay Intel and Rambus a royalty on every module they make.

* * * * *

This from Tom Syroid []: 

Good morning my friend:

Trust you feel better today and your ďcouch timeĒ served its purpose.

Iíve been following your digital camera explorations with interest (as have so many others, I see). I have been pining for a new, bigger monitor for several years now, while Leah is hinting that sheíd like a digital camera. I have a feeling I know which way this one will end. Could you please tell me how to do a thumbnail in FP? I havenít got there yet and I really should revamp my photo pages in this format.

I haven't been following the crash stuff at all. I must say that I don't understand why anyone cares. The Kennedy family got its start as gangsters, and I can't see that they've much changed.

I concur on your gangster view, but I canít help but think Kennedy Jr. tried to break from this mold in his own way. No matter my opinion here, the Kennedy family appears (from a Canadian perspective) to have had a powerful influence on American thinking for four decades now. And with much of that force being centered in politics, it is inevitable that this influence would be a mix of Good Thing-Bad Thing. So it goes with powerful, influential people the world over.

Iíve also been enjoying your dialogues on the Bad versus Evil distinction. Unfortunately, I donít have the time to jump into the fray on this one, but between your comments and your readerís responses, I must admit that Iíve had to sit back and rethink some of my own personal views on this matter a time or two over the past few days. Which is a Good Thing in itself.



Tom Syroid

Yes, I'm feeling better, thanks. I still haven't had time to build PCs, though. Perhaps next weekend. I still don't have a functioning system with a CD-R drive on it, and that needs to change.

As far as thumbnailing, just click on the picture to select it. FP displays the picture toolbar at the bottom. Click the third icon over from the left and FP automatically generates a thumbnail image and inserts it in the page.

As far as Mr. Kennedy, I bear him no ill will. I was simply commenting that I don't see why anyone (outside of his family and friends) cares. A whole lot of other people died that day without making the news, and the only thing I can see for all the news coverage for that incident was that he was a Kennedy. Again, so what?

And you're right about the time issue. I barely have time to do what I need to do, let alone engage in extended discourses on Evil and politics. So I won't.

* * * * *

This from Jan Swijsen []: 

Well you are fast. I noticed your reply on you net site before the mail arrived!

My father was a geography teacher (pensioned now) and he wrote (and still does) school books. For these books he needs illustrating photographs. The topics range from housing and infrastructure over agriculture and industry to geology and astronomy. Typical photos are various valley forms, from lowland meandering to deep gorges, or outcropping geological formations. For the books the photos are cut to remove unwanted parts such as to much sky or foreground roads and then enlarged to the required size. He used a Leica camera with just a standard lens for most of the pictures. That camera was so heavily used that in the end the winding and rewinding mechanisms started to give way, often slipping loose a few turns before gripping the film. He is now using a Konica with a build in zoom lens. All the photos were in effect dia negatives put in slides, we have several hundreds of them. Last year I bought him a slide scanner for his birthday (a Nicon CoolscanII) There was never a problem with picture quality, the inevitable bad shots were never put in slides. With digital photos, we received a lot of them from various agencies selling stock photographs, the enlargement more often than not make the pictures unsuitable for the books publication. 

The first two pictures on Steve Tucker's site are good examples of the kind of image used in the books. They look good enough on screen but for publishing in print they fall short. But he didn't use a D-400.

BTW That Nicon slide scanner produces superb pictures that are almost usable for publications. It produces definitively better results than scanning photos on my Paragon 600 flatbed scanner.

Kind regards,

I'm not really all that fast. Your message happened to arrive just while I was doing my morning update, so I included it. This message, for example, arrived at at about 11:30 a.m. my time on Monday, and won't appear on the web site until Tuesday morning.

As far as using digital camera images for book illustrations, a lot depends on many factors, including the resolution of the digital camera itself, the final reproduction size, the screen used for printing, and so on. For technical illustration, such as my books, the Olympus D-400 Zoom will do just fine. The illustration shots will probably appear about 3"X4" (75mm X 100 mm), which allows 300 dots/inch (12 dots/mm), more than enough for the purpose.

On the other hand, if the book is using, for example 8X10 inch (200 mm X 250 mm) reproduction with a 2,540 dpi (100 dots/mm) screen, that translates roughly to minimal required resolution of 20,000 X 25,000, which is beyond the capability of even the $50,000 digital cameras. In fact, that's right at the edge of what Kodachrome can do under ideal conditions in a top-notch 35 mm camera. That's why National Geographic magazine held out against 35 mm for so long. They used to require 4X5" chromes. As Hasselblads became more commonly used, they eventually allowed that a 2.25" square (6 X 6 cm) chrome was acceptable. Nowadays, I believe much of what they publish is done on 35 mm or 6 X 4.5 cm.

* * * * *

This from McDonald, James []: 

I beta tested your course on DigitalThink and I seem to remember that you mentioned that you can install Windows NT workstation From the NT Server CD. I may be wrong, but I thought you mentioned something about that. I was wondering if you could let me know how this is done if possible. Also I was surprised to see that my comment about your Course is used on the description of NT core part one.

By far the easiest thing to do is install Windows NT Server in stand-alone server mode, without installing any of the supplemental servers, e.g. DCHP Server or WINS server. Then, display Network Properties, choose Services, highlight the Server service, click Properties, and mark the Minimize Memory Used option button. To all intents and purposes, that turns your Windows NT Server machine into a Windows NT Workstation machine.

If you literally want the OS to identify itself as Windows NT Workstation (e.g. if you have a backup application that won't run on a machine that identifies itself as a server), the process is a bit more involved. Rather than going into it here, I'll point you to this link.

* * * * *

This from Paul Robichaux, MCSE []:

If you like Masterpiece Theater, take Barbara to go see An Ideal Husband. It's an extremely well-done remake of an Oscar Wilde play. Rupert Everett, Juliette Lewis, and Minnie Driver are all terrific in it-- the nuances of character are very subtle but definitely there.

Paul Robichaux, MCSE | | <>
Robichaux & Associates: programming, writing, teaching, consulting

Thanks. I may do that. Incidentally, the "MCSE" is new, isn't it? Congratulations.

* * * * *

This from Shawn Wallbridge []: 

I was wondering, since you have been using WinGate for a while. Didn't their 3 user license used to be good for 3 clients and the server? I could have sworn that it was, when I checked before 3.0 came out. I just assumed that it still was, until I just hooked up my fourth computer on the network. When I tried to get out it said I didn't have enough licenses. Just curious. I guess I am going to have to buy another 3 pack.


Shawn Wallbridge

Yes, my recollection is the same as yours. But I seem to recall that when they made that change, they also increased the counts. For example, what they used to call a "2-user" license was the server plus two users. When they brought out the new version, they started calling that same license a "3-user" license. From a marketing perspective, that makes sense because it had been a 3-user license all along. But you're right that it can get confusing for someone who used WinGate before they made the change.

* * * * *

This from Neil Sherin []: 

Thanks! I'll have a look at doing that tonight, if time permits. As it seems to occur after the network configuration of setup, I was actually already thinking of pulling the NIC. I've also bought another fan, in case it could be heat... but unlikely, as Win2K Professional worked fine on the box. I've actually setting the modem as a reserved ISA device in the board's Award BIOS and disabling COM2 which is the onboard port, as the modem is jumpered to COM2. Will let you know how it all goes... Also, your books reach as far as Hong Kong, where I am currently living! I saw your Windows NT TCP/IP Administration book last night, as I was in one of Hong Kong's computer malls, picking up a fan. I had a look through the book and it certainly looks to be very well written. It is certainly one I would consider when I require a WinNT TCP/IP book. Looking forward to your new hardware book - I will be buying a copy!

Thanks for the kind words. As it happens, I have a system that is behaving exactly as yours is. I had Windows NT 4 running on the box with no problems. Then took the disk down to bare metal, repartitioned, and installed Windows 98 SE in the primary partition. It runs fine. I then re-installed Windows NT 4, and it bluescreened after network configuration. I've done everything I can think of, including taking the disk down to bare metal again and installing Windows NT 4 by itself, but it still bluescreens. Obviously, Win98 SE PnP has reconfigured some stuff that makes Windows NT 4 Setup shoot craps.





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Wednesday, 21 July 1999

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Barbara told me yesterday that she was going to take Duncan and Riley out to visit Rebecca and Patrick Shouse yesterday evening. They're the folks who organized Carolina Border Collie Rescue, and they live in a rural area with some acreage. I decided to go along and take the Olympus D-400 Zoom with me just to play. We picked up Laura Kangas and one of her Border Collies on the way out there.

We ended up with a whole flock of Border Collies (well, five anyway), a large field, and several Frisbees. Everything necessary for some serious running. And those dogs can move. You'd start with a Frisbee in hand and a pack of BCs surrounding you. You could whip that Frisbee fifty yards or so out into the field, but by the time it was ready to hit the ground, the pack would be surrounding it. Usually, one or another of the BCs would go airborne to retrieve it before it could hit the ground.

The image below shows Patrick getting ready to throw the Frisbee, with three of the five BCs focusing on that. Riley is in the foreground (with the orange collar tab) making friends with another dog. Duncan is the middle BC, and he's focused on working the other animals instead of worrying about the Frisbee. You can also see from this picture why we call him our Border Godzilla. At 65 pounds (30 kilos), he's a good 20 to 30 pounds heavier and 4 to 6 inches taller than the others. And there's no fat on him. He's just a big BC male.

ol400fivebcs.jpg (63144 bytes)

The dogs ran flat out for the better part of an hour, in very hot and humid conditions. Fortunately, there was a large water bowl handy. The dogs would run until they looked ready to drop, and then come back to plop in the water bowl, get a drink and go back to running some more. We had to force Duncan into the water bowl, but once he figured out that cold water felt good, he stayed in there quite a while. Duncan's not pictured here. When he was in the water bowl, there wasn't room for anyone else.

ol400bcbath.jpg (63561 bytes)

I came back from this hot and sweaty, and I didn't do anything but stand around. I hate nature. I can't imagine doing all that running in that kind of heat and humidity. But the dogs sure seemed to like it.

* * * * *

This from Neil Sherin []: 

Thanks for letting me know that you are also in the same boat as me regarding NT/Blue Screens - It is most reassuring to know that it is not just me with these annoying problems.

Last night wasn't too good a night for other reasons, so I didn't get much done. Tonight I'll strip the system down to simply NIC, Modem and VGA. I had a PnP BIOS NVRAM reset utility for DOS a while ago. I think it is on CD. If I find it, would you be interested? What it does is simply reset the PnP configuration stored in the BIOS. The Award BIOS does have a reset PnP option, but at times I do question how effective that feature is. The utility may help... Incidentally, I had 98 SE on the box just prior to this to test my SB Live! Value card. Previously to that, Win2K Beta 3 was on the box, but it had no SB Live! Value support, so I removed it just after I got my Live! card.

This may interest you: - this software is superb for simulating Virtual Machines. I have the NT version and it looks good (it is in beta). I am trying to simulate an NT domain and also play a bit with Linux. Here is what I plan to do:-

  • Dual Celeron box with NT 4.0 Server native as a Primary Domain Controller
  • VMWare install 1- Win2K Professional OR Server as the BDC
  • VMWare install 2 - Win 95 OR 98 (not sure yet which) - will use this for looking at system policies for users, Zero Administration etc.
  • VMWare install 3 - Linux (Red Hat or Caldera) - for playing about with Linux etc.

However, that is a little way off. I'm saving it for when my dual box works!

I think I have the PnP utility you mention somewhere, but thanks. As far as the VMware stuff, I'll be interested to hear your experiences. I knew that the Mac had an emulator that could run NT, but I wasn't aware of such a product for Intel.

* * * * *

This from Chuck Waggoner [waggoner at gis dot net]:

This week's Circuit City flyer advertises "Save $100" on the Olympus D400Z with Floppy Disk Adapter ($89.99 value) included. Price listed is $599.99.

Just thought your interested readers who have a Circuit City nearby might want to know.

Thanks. That's a pretty decent price. Only $20 or so higher than the mail order places I deal with. I just did a search on, and found that some vendors advertised the Olympus D-400 Zoom for around $500 or a little less. No vendors I have ever dealt with, though. Most of the mainstream vendors are selling it in the $550 to $600 range. NECx wants $576. PC Connection wants $579. Insight (high as usual) wants $638. 





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Thursday, 22 July 1999

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Well, once again I've been screwed by Office 2000. Or perhaps it was NT4 SP5. Microsoft, at any rate. With only Outlook 2000 and Word 2000 loaded, I was working on a document. I accidentally brushed Caps Lock and O2K/WinNT did its usual. Turning off Caps Lock did no good. I had part of a paragraph of text selected, and nothing I could do cleared the selection. Clicking in the selected area did nothing. Clicking elsewhere in the page selected random amounts of additional text. That document was acting seriously hinky. At least this time I was able to save the document and exit Word. The last time that happened, I had to reboot NT with Word and the document still loaded.

At that point, with only OL2K showing on the task bar, I double-clicked the Internet Explorer icon. Windows NT loaded Internet Explorer, Word 2000, FrontPage 2000, Netscape Navigator, Windows NT Explorer, and several other programs, all from that one double-click. I finally got all those programs closed, when what should appear but the weirdly highlighted icons on my desktop. I described that problem a week or two ago. This time, I was too smart to do anything about them, so I just shut down NT.

I say I just shut it down, but as usual, it took more than half an hour to shut down. So, once again, Microsoft has cost me time that I don't have to waste, all because they ship alpha- or beta-level software and represent it as a finished product. I am seriously annoyed with Microsoft right now. They can't get anything really right. They get it about 99% right, but that last 1% is the killer. 99% just isn't good enough.

I think Microsoft is seriously misjudging the market. Relatively few people will upgrade to Office 2000, just as people were less likely to upgrade from Office 95 to Office 97 than they were from Office 4.2 to Office 95. Imagine if, instead of shipping their usual bug-ridden products, they shipped an upgrade that was bug-free. They could sell it as "fewer features, but NO BUGS". I'd upgrade to it. Wouldn't you? Wouldn't everyone? Someone needs to tell Microsoft that we don't need any more features. What we need is software that's debugged and bulletproof. I wonder if anyone there is listening.

As things stand, I can't recommend upgrading to this release of Office 2000. It has some nice new features, true, but it's horribly bug-ridden. Wait for O2K SP1. Better still, wait longer than that, because O2K SP1 will probably have horrible bugs of its own. They'll probably end up releasing SP1 and then pulling it immediately, just as they've done so many times in the past. Don't these people do any testing at all?

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This from Will []: 

I found your page discussing your Spotmatic. I also have one I bought in 1964, I think. Anyway they were fairly new on the market then. I haven't used it in years, but I dug it out when my other equipment was stolen (to use while I'm waiting for the insurance adjuster to act, which may be another 35 years). I need to find out what is the replacement for the mercury battery the camera originally used, since I'm pretty sure you can't get them anymore. If you know, I'd appreciate an email.


Bill Rampey

I updated that page with what I know about the Spotmatic battery issue, which isn't a lot. If you do a web search for the Mallory part number I mentioned there, you'll find several pages from companies that sell direct replacements for the Mallory battery. Apparently, the issue is that the EPA banned mercury batteries, and replacements that use silver oxide or another technology do not have identical characteristics. I also gathered from a quick web search that mercury batteries are still widely available on the net from just about any country other than the US. You can, for example, order them from a Canadian company and have them shipped here.

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This from  Neil Sherin []: 

The VMWare software only emulates an x86 class processor. To run Mac software, I believe there is something called 'Executor', but it needs DOS mode to do this. VMWare will x86 OS's within Windows NT itself.

Nearly hosed the motherboard last night by running that damn utility. Rebooted OK then rebooted again after remembering to set a boot option in the BIOS - well the system never came back up. Luckily, I removed the battery for a couple of hours and the BIOS came back to life. By this time it was 12:30AM, so I am hoping to get more done tonight. Living in Hong Kong means that I could take the motherboard to the service centre during my lunch hour and try and get them to sort the BIOS there and then, but luckily, there was no need for this!

Right. I wasn't talking about running Mac applications on an Intel box, but about the converse. When I was writing the MCSE training courses for DigitalThink, I wanted to capture screens shots of Setup. That's not possible directly, because NT isn't running yet, and there's no way to load the screen capture application. When I posted a question on the Computer Book Publishing mailing list asking for suggestions, several people pointed out that one could use this emulator running on a Mac to install NT in a Mac window and shoot screen captures from there. The only problem was, I don't have a Mac.

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This from Robert Rudzki []: 

i had a hectic day at the community college today, the instructor of our PC hardware and repair class [precursor to a+ repair] asked if i would help out by guiding the class through a re-assembly of an old PC from the case up. i agreed and had gone in the day prior and stripped down 3 old 486 machines to the bare-case level, and bagged all the memory and CPU's in anti-static bags.

most of these machines were donated by a local bank which must have cleaned out the old mis junk room, the major problem with machines this old is that the students will never really see them at client locations since they are 7 to more than 10 years old, many of the nics had only coax connectors on them and the video cards were 9 pin VGA... one tower server was actually a 386 with full height 5.25" scsi drives and socketed 256kb chips for memory on the motherboard.

but we had a good session i spent the entire 3 hours on my feet talking and answering questions non-stop, 15 curious students can wear me out since the instructor was grading our mid-terms and did not do any instruction this session.

your border collies sure look like 'Shetland shepherds' which is what my mother called a dog we got back when we lived in Chicago, he was smart and lively and could run rings around all of us herding us through the forest in the Indiana state dunes park on the way to the beach from the picnic grounds.

that dog [named 'buster'] loved water and chasing thrown sticks and finding a huge dead lake carp washed up on the beach at lake Michigan with scales the size of my palm and rolling around in it! then we had to catch him and pull him back down to the shore line reeking of dead fish and scrub him down with lakeshore water and wet sand since we had a 40 mile trip back to Chicago in the '59 rambler station wagon and the smell would have killed us all...

we left for southern California in July of '63, naturally my dad said we could not take the dog with us it was too much trouble and we couldn't send him ahead since it would cost too much. i was heartbroken, we had cats on and off but this dog was my main pet it was only 5 years old [i was 13] so it had been my companion for a significant timespan of my life.

of course my father managed to ship many hundreds of old wartime [WW2] pulp fiction novels at significant expense to California and carefully store them in the our garage where they moldered for another 15 years before he finally threw them away, this after rotting in the damp basement of the Chicago apartment for 8 years prior to that and let us not get into the long damp storage and shipping from England when we emigrated in 1955...

this man believes if you surround yourself with books even if you never read them you will be considered educated and sophisticated.

he later told me he beat the dog unconscious when he 'took' it to its new adoptive family to help it forget 'us' and so it would bond to the new family more readily, i swear if i had a pistol in my hand i am not sure what i would have done.

in fact, i have no idea if the 'adoptive family' we knew ever got the dog or what really happened to it...

one of the many reasons i longer have any contact with the man who claims to be my father.

Shetland sheep dogs are a different breed, although they're used for the same work as Border Collies. The Shetlands look like a miniature version of Lassie, and are noticeably smaller than Border Collies.

Your father's attitude about dogs, although regrettable, is by no means uncommon. Ask anyone who works at an animal shelter. People bring in dogs every day that they're simply tired of feeding or walking, or sometimes simply because they want a change. It's not at all uncommon for people who are moving to abandon a dog for no better reason than that it's easier just to get a new dog at their destination. I've never understood how anyone could do that. It seems to me to be on a par with abandoning a child. I feel only contempt for people like that. And anyone who would beat a dog as you describe should himself be beaten.

People and dogs have had an unspoken pact since the first dog was brave enough to approach a campfire 20,000 or 30,000 years ago. They take care of us, and we take care of them. Dogs never let down their side of the agreement, but people do so all the time.

I told Barbara last night that I feel terrible about Riley. That dog has been shunted from one place to another in his short life. Now, for the last week, he's been with us. He's fitted right in, and as far as he's concerned, he's now a member of our pack. And now, sometime later today, his new owner is going to come here, pick Riley up, and drive away with him. The poor dog is going to feel abandoned again. I just hope the guy who's taking him treats him right.





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Friday, 23 July 1999

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Here's one of those unfortunate occurrences. I was checking details on CD-R media, when I came across this little gem on the Verbatim page: "Verbatim is the perfrct storage media of choice when critical unalterable data storage is required ..." I wonder if they stored that text on a Verbatim CD-R disc.

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Here's a utility that can completely eliminate those annoying Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) crashes under Win9X. That's the good news. The bad news is that it doesn't eliminate the crashes. It just turns them a different color. You can now choose to have a Green Screen of Death, Red Screen of Death, etc. Although this is by a third-party programmer, he's taken the same approach that Microsoft did when they announced that they'd eliminated those pesky UAEs under Windows 3.0. They had, by renaming them GPFs.

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This from  Neil Sherin []: 

Sorry, I misunderstood you there! Well, the good news is that the NT box is up. It turned out that the Intel drivers for the NIC that ship with NT cause problems. Downloading new ones helped. I actually installed my old NE2000 NIC to get the box up and running and added SCSI then sound. I used PQ DriveImage to backup the drive then replaced the NE2000 with the Intel NIC. I installed the latest rather than the shipping drivers on the CD for the Live! Value which caused some hassles, but it works. Tonight I'll reinstall completely using the new Intel NIC drivers at first, followed SP5 then by installing SB Live! drivers in order of release. Must be something in my Intel NIC's chipset that causes the BSOD when using the drivers that ship with NT. Thanks for all your help! Will let you know on the success of tonight's install plus my findings with VMWare.

Okay, that confirms something that I'd begun to suspect. I had NT4 running successfully on my testbed box sulla. The only change I'd made was to swap the LinkSys 100BaseT card for the Intel PRO/100+ card. I was surprised when NT4 had a driver for it, and I had about decided that this old driver must be what was causing the problem. Thanks for confirming it.

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This from Michael Baker []:

Two points:

I don't usually watch the local (Atlanta) news on TV, but today I happened to be in the same room as the TV and was rewarded with this little tidbit: A couple of boys, aged 14 and 13, purposely set fire to a 3 month old kitten. Later, one of the kitten's owners found it and rushed it to the vet. Eventually, the kitten died of its injuries. The news showed footage of the kitten. Half of its body was covered in bandages. The poor thing was obviously in pain, and being frightened, was crying its little heart out. I believe the news said the boys were indicted today. The judge placed them under house arrest until they are sentenced. This kind of senseless brutality sickens me. Personally, I think people such as this should endure the same atrocities they inflicted on the poor animal. I don't know what the maximum sentence for cruelty to animals is here, but I'm sure it doesn't include torture by fire. These two hoodlums certainly fit my description of Evil.

Now for something completely different. I don't know much about guns, and I have a question. You mentioned a while back that you consider a shotgun to be a good home defense weapon. I'd like to know if there were such thing as an automatic (semi, or fully) shotgun? If so, are they legal, and how many shells do they typically hold?

Note: while the kitten thing is upsetting the above two issues are completely unrelated :)


Michael Baker

Yes, those two are definitely Evil. What's significant is that a teenager who tortures animals is almost certain to commit even more horrendous crimes later in life. I seem to recall reading that the only correlation those who study serial killers have found is that nearly all of them tortured animals when they were in their early teens. Apparently, the usual progression is from insects to small animals to people. Those boys are irretrievably bent. Putting them down now would save a lot of trouble later. There's certainly something to be said for the Old Testament approach you advocate, but I think descending to their level is a mistake. Better just to shoot each of them in the head and get it over with.

As far as shotguns, there have been many selective fire (full auto) weapons made for military and police use, but none are easily available or indeed appropriate for home defense use. For most people, I'd recommend a 12 gauge "lupara" or coach gun, which is a double-barrel shotgun with external hammers. It can be stored loaded with the hammers down for years and yet be available for use in seconds simply by cocking the hammers. They're also relatively inexpensive and fairly easy to find. 

Another good choice is a pump-action 12 gauge. The Remington 870 is the best, but suitable and less expensive models are available from Mossberg and others. Get one with the shortest barrel available (usually 18" or 20"). Although it would be useful to use a hacksaw to trim the barrel down to about 12" for improved handling in close quarters and wider shot spread, doing so is a major no-no. A shotgun with a barrel less than 18" long is in the same class as a fully automatic weapon as far as the feds are concerned. 

In general, I'd steer clear of semi-automatic shotguns for home defense, although the absolute best weapon available for that purpose is the semi-auto HS 10B. Unfortunately, that weapon hasn't been made for many years, and is now a collectors' item.

Magazine capacities vary. Many states restrict hunting weapons to three rounds, so many shotguns have blocks (sometimes removable) to limit capacity to two in the magazine and one in the chamber. A typical pump may hold six to eight rounds if there is no block. And speaking of rounds, make sure you buy #4 Buck. If you tell the guy at the counter that you plan to use the gun for defense, he'll almost certainly try to sell you #00 Buck. Don't buy it. The #4 Buck has more pellets, a better pattern, and is much less likely to penetrate residential walls and wound or kill someone on the far side.

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This from Robert Rudzki []: 

from what you describe of Shetland dogs then ours must have been either a mix or sub-specie of border collie he looked very much like your dogs except he had some orange mixed in the black and white and was about 45 pounds.

My mother had some Afghan hounds a few years ago those dogs are just plain loopy, but they can run... the two she had would act more like cats than dogs in the way they moved and slept. they would both come up and lean against me and arch their backs like our cats do. neither was an intellectual giant in fact they were quite dumb as dogs go but affectionate and loyal which is all i really expect from a pet animal anyway. while i like reptiles and have owned turtles, tree frogs, channel catfish all rescued from other children whose mother was only too happy to give the animal away before the child killed it from neglect non-mammals just don't bond to humans the way dogs and cats do.

i always get a kitten or 2 from the pound i hate puppy and kitten mills and i think they should be put out of business aggressively. the dog pound should have an outlet at the mall where the more attractive pet animals can be shown for adoption. The fact we kill millions of perfectly healthy but unwanted animals each year is a shameful reality one would think the pet food makers could put some fertility reduction drug in the dog and cat food to lessen the number of litters born and destroyed each year.

Naturally if people were more responsible and had the animal fixed that would also help a lot.

No, he may well have been a Border Collie. BCs are bred for working ability and intelligence, not for appearance. Although most are predominantly black with some white, there are numerous colors. Many have some tannish brown on them. Reds, which are relatively uncommon, are a light reddish brown with no black on them. There are also blues and merles. The one constant is that a BC always has a white tip on its tail, which usually hangs in a "J" when the dog is relaxed.

I agree with your feelings about puppy mills, pet stores, and neutering pets. I've had BCs for 40 years now, and Duncan is the first one I've had that hasn't been fixed. I'd like to breed him, which is the only reason I've been able to stand up against my wife and our vet, who both want him neutered.





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Saturday, 24 July 1999

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Here's an interesting web site I happened across the other day. is just what it sounds like. It rates various mail-order and Internet sellers of computer hardware and software. The ratings are based on feedback from people who have bought from the sources that are being rated. In general, the ratings I saw corresponded pretty closely to my own experience. Although it appears that the web site does what it can to prevent ballot-box stuffing, it's obvious that the ratings for companies like NECx, which have received hundreds of votes, are more likely valid than those for companies that have received only a few votes. If you're thinking about buying some computer stuff by mail-order or over the Internet, it's probably worth checking this site first. I'm adding it to my bookmarks.

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And speaking of interesting web sites, here's one that tells you more than you want to know about CD-R media. Media Sciences has numerous FAQs and other documents that explain a lot, including stuff I've not seen explained elsewhere, even in Andy McFadden's CD-R FAQ.

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I don't really expect any severe Y2K dislocations around here, but one never knows. Accordingly, I decided the other day to start putting aside basic supplies, just in case. One thing that's both important and easy to store is water. I go through four 3 litre bottles of Coca Cola Classic per week, and they make ideal storage containers. One 3 litre bottle is a barely adequate one-day supply for an adult, counting drinking, cooking, and sanitation. Figuring ten per week is better. We'd like to have at least a two week supply on hand. With three adults, plus dogs, plus a few in reserve for friends and neighbors, that means it'd be a good idea to keep a hundred or so on hand. That's about how many I'll drink between now and year end, so I'll just start saving and filling them as I go.

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This from Richard Booth []: 

Just a brief thought, and maybe an unfairly cynical one. If any vendor releases a bug-free version of software, they're doomed in the medium term. Why would anyone ever upgrade again? Okay, every few years there's a new feature one wants, but mostly we all upgrade in the desperate hope of fixing the bugs that are troubling us now. That's one of the reasons I use emacs for writing text. GNU don't care about selling `upgrades'.

Actually, you've put your finger on the reason why we don't have bug-free software. Microsoft and others depend on that revenue stream that upgrades generate. In that respect, at least, the Y2K problem has been a real blessing for them. No one seems to expect vendors to ship Y2K-compliant fixes for older applications, so a lot of people who wouldn't otherwise have upgraded will be forced to do so. Of course, a lot of people that Microsoft left stranded with non-compliant products like Windows 95 and Office 95 feel justified in doing their own "midnight upgrades" to a compliant version. It would be interesting if someone brought to court on software piracy charges pled Y2K. I expect to see it happen.

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This from Paul Robichaux []: 

From p 46 of this month's Flying. Abbreviations and elisions are mine; poor sentence structure is theirs:

As anybody who's ever hit one in flight knows, birds and airplanes don't mix. The most likely meeting place? On approach and departure, where fully 85% of bird strikes take place and where they have the greatest potential for harm. So keeping airports as free as possible of feathered threats make sense.

To get rid of avian nuisances, airport operators have tried blasting them with horns and rock music, chasing them off with golf carts, using scarecrows, birds of prey, and even pyrotechnics to drive their unwanted tenants off. Unfortunately, birds are stubborn creatures that become desensitized to organized harassment, so fixes like these have proved short-lived.

The operators of the Ft Myers Southwest Int'l Airport believe they've gotten a leg up on the problem with the hiring of a new employee: Jet the border collie. Jet is a two-year-old pooch who has been specifically trained to harass the birds into finding somewhere else to live Florida ranks 3rd in the nation behind CA and TX in bird strikes.

Bred to herd sheep, border collies seem like a great solution. They're intelligent, hard-working animals that can be trained to herd birds away from certain areas instead of just scattering them. Also, because they don't harm or kill birds, they're a politically correct solution. Which doesn't make Jet any less scary to the birds. Because Jet doesn't bark at the birds as he approaches them and since he can run at nearly 30mph, the birds won't likely get desensitized to him, as is often the case with other harassment methods.

Paul Robichaux, MCSE | | <
Robichaux & Associates: programming, writing, teaching, consulting 

Yes, I knew they were being used at several airports. They're also very popular on golf courses, where Canada Geese have become pests, but can't be run off otherwise because they are protected by federal law. I didn't know that a BC could reach 30 MPH, but I'm not surprised. I've seen Greyhounds run, and Border Collies are just about as fast. You wouldn't find a BC dumb enough to chase a mechanical rabbit, though.

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This from Robert Rudzki []: 

Personally I favor killing murderers and animal abusers the same way they killed or tortured their victim be it human or animal. In fact I don't think they have yet found a sociopath serial murderer who did not start with insects and small animals...

Since the general public does not have the stomach for that colorful style of public execution anymore, rather than just shooting them in head, use all those nice young healthy organs for transplant to people that need them desperately.

The execution chamber would be a hub-and-spoke set of surgical suites the condemned would be in the center [hub] suite all prepped and ready for organ extraction with all his donor targets in the spoke suites with separate teams of surgeons all standing by for the signal from the warden/chief surgeon. Naturally all the organ and blood typing would have done ahead of time, and at the time chosen all the docs would start cutting and carrying the organs of the condemned to the various suites where the donors would be waiting. If he were sick or had AIDS we would just take him to the zoo and throw him bound hand and foot into the crocodile pond or shark tank.

Now if you really thought the condemned deserved a little mercy he would get a general anaesthetic along with the muscle relaxants before they cut him/her open but if not he would just get the muscle relaxants... You could sell the video and TV rights to tabloid TV programs I am sure a lot people would tune in to watch. Justice and medicine would be served and provide a good public example of what happens to people who kill and torture others. And in death they would help others by giving precious organs that are in such short supply.

Funny you mention the 'lupara' [she-wolf] which in Italian dialect means either a short-barreled double shotgun as used by the Mafia for settlement of 'contracts' in southern Italy or a prostitute. I have not seen that word used for quite a while.

Back when I worked in a gun store, we sold Rossi coach guns which were 18" barrel hammer-doubles, like all Rossi's they were cheap junk and it showed! I would never trust my life to a piece of trash like this by choice, and if you do leave it loaded with the hammers down propped up in a corner near your headrest and the cat or dog should knock it over and it fires along the floor it might screw up both ankles and your feet.

The 12 gauge pump is overkill inside a house IMO, a better choice is a 20 gauge, recoil and blast are easier to handle especially for small men and most women.

Since 20 gauge riot guns are hard to find, just buy the Remington 870 or a Mossberg sporting pumpgun and have a gunsmith trim the barrel properly to 18.5". I had one done by Mashburn Arms in OKC in 1980 and they just hacksawed the barrel to 18" it wasn't square or crowned I spent some time with a square and a fine mill bastard drawfiling that sucker to where it should have been. Their reputation had fallen far indeed from the time when they were famous in the 40's and 50's...

if you can handle or need a 12 gauge I personally prefer a semi-auto either a Remington 11-87 Police or the HK line of police and military shotguns but you are talking $500 to $800 easily but they are 'bullet-proof' and used by SWAT and SAS and the GSG-9 type of guys who demand the best.

Number Four buckshot is a good choice in a brick house away from its neighbors, I would recommend Number Six bird shot for small apartments and even Number Nine skeet shot, the shot pattern across a room is only the size of your palm and the chances of killing 5 more people in the adjoining apartments is reduced greatly.

Also look into the Federal Police Tactical Buckshot loadings, they have reduced power and velocity which make them a lot easier to shoot yet still have lots of stopping power, since regular and short magnum buckshot loadings are way over powered for shooting people, they are designed for lion, leopard, bear and other thin-skinned dangerous game.

Whatever you get, be sure and have supervised instruction for safety and tactics, use eye and ear protection, by all means use an outdoor range the first few times the noise and blast is much easier to handle if you have never fired a powerful shotgun before, and if you can find a range that allows unstructured courses and targets, try shooting various ranges and 2-liter bottles filled with water to see what the gun can do. Once again, I can't stress enough the safety of having an experienced instructor or shooter with you the first few times you go out...

Well, I guess I differentiate between killing an animal and killing a human. Animals are chattel, and a person has the right to do what he wants with his own property. Animals have no rights in common law, although the Politically Correct and the SPCA have been doing a good job of getting that changed in casebook law. So, although I'll defend the legal right of an animal owner to torture or kill his animal without facing civil or criminal penalties, I sure don't think much of such a person. What I said about the two boys who burned the kitten to death was predicated on what that indicated about those boys and their likely future actions, not upon the action itself.

As far as the lupara, I stand by my advice, although a pump gun does have one thing to be said for it. Very high on the list of things that no intruder wants to hear is the sound of someone racking a pump gun. The real problem with a pump gun is that an inexperienced user under stress is very likely to short-stroke it. More than one cop has been killed because he didn't work the action fully and ended up with an empty chamber that he thought was loaded.

A 12 gauge is a lot of gun, no doubt, but any adult of whatever size or sex can learn to use one effectively. Many years ago, I used to date a woman who weighed 98 pounds soaking wet, and she could use a 12 gauge 870 to clear a course with the best of them. Free recoil on a typical 12 gauge magnum is on the close order of 40 ft. lbs, about twice that of a 30-06, so it definitely has a serious kick. But any adult can handle 40 ft. lbs. of free recoil, particularly in a serious situation.

You're correct that at typical in-home distances the shot size is immaterial. At fifteen feet, there's effectively no difference between hitting an attacker with buckshot or #9 birdshot. But that changes if the attacker is, for example, wearing a heavy coat, or has taken cover behind a piece of furniture. I prefer pellets with some mass. And you're also correct, of course, about the importance of training and practice. 

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This from []: 

can you please give me some info on where i can buy some counterfeit dollar bills and diploma...and also college transcript...thanks...will pay top dollar






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Sunday, 25 July 1999

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I've had quite a few requests to update the page that lists the computers that I actually use. I did some work on that yesterday. The updated page is here. It's not complete by any means, but at least I made some progress.

* * * * *

I've changed my mind again about which capture mode to use with the Olympus D-400 Zoom. I'd started with the Standard Quality (SQ) 640X480 images, which are ideal for posting to the web site. About 120 to 140 of those will fit on one 8 MB SmartMedia card. Then I decided to switch to using High Quality (HQ) by default. That stores 1280X960 images with moderate compression, and can fit about 40 or 45 images on the 8 MB card.

Then I got to thinking about it. Why store anything less than Super High Quality (SHQ) mode, which stores about 20 images on the 8 MB card? I seldom need to shoot more than 20 shots before I can download to my computer anyway. If I do, I have a second 8 MB card, and 40+ shots should do me very well. Come to that, another 8 MB SmartMedia card costs only about $20, a 16 MB version twice that, and a 32 MB version four times. 

Resampling a 1280X960 image down to 640X480 takes only seconds using IrfanView, so it makes sense to shoot everything at SHQ, archive those original images, and resample as needed for shots I want to post here.

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Now it's time to clean house and do laundry. This afternoon we build Barbara's new PC, and then we meet her folks for dinner for her dad's birthday.

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This from Scott Kitterman []: 

The pump shotgun has another potential advantage for people, like those who have children in the house, who aren't comfortable storing weapons loaded: 

With practice, it is the fastest weapon to load among those generally available for home defense.

When I was in the military, I had security force duties at one point. We had M14 rifles, pump shotguns (I don't recall the type), and .45 cal pistols. Because we were a very part time force, the amount of training we had was minimal compared to someone expected to handle small arms on a full time basis. We were not allowed to load our weapons when reacting to a security alert. The theory was that the risk of an accidental discharge if we did was greater than the risk of an actual terrorist attack. As uncomfortable as I felt about it, I agreed. Given our level of training, that was prudent.

After a fair amount of experimentation, I concluded that I wanted to carry the pump shotgun. First, as a long arm, I could aim it more reliably under stress than a pistol. Second, I was most likely going to run into someone inside, so range wasn't a major issue. Finally, I figured out I could load it the fastest.

I always carried the shotgun with the breach open and one round in my left hand just next to the breach. From there it took less than a second to flip the round in the chamber and rack it forward. Even loading the .45 took longer and was a significantly more complex action.

Scott Kitterman

Yes, I agree that the pump shotgun is an excellent home defense weapon. In fact, if I didn't have an HS 10B, an 870 would be my first choice. I don't hold with all this nonsense about keeping guns unloaded, though. That makes as much sense as storing your gasoline separately from your car. If you need a defensive weapon, you need it Right Now. But in North Carolina, our moronic legislators have actually made it effectively illegal to have loaded guns if you have children. 

If I had kids, they'd learn very young and very well what a firearm is and what it can do. Demonstrating the effect of a heavy caliber pistol or a shotgun by firing it into a pumpkin, watermelon, or a #10 can of tomato juice usually sobers a kid right up. I'd start a kid with a single-shot .22 at about age five or six and buy him his own rifle when he was about 12. (and I say "him" and "his" because I am concerned with proper English, not because I wouldn't do the same for a girl). If taught properly, kids know right from wrong, and are perfectly capable of understanding that a firearm is not a toy. If most children nowadays are irresponsible, it is because they are allowed to be that way rather than from any inherent irresponsibility of children.

I can't say I'm shocked that you were expected to have an unloaded gun while on guard duty. The military used to teach (correctly) that the proper way to carry the 1911A1 was "condition one," or "cocked and locked." That is the way that John Moses Browning designed it to be carried. Apparently, things are now a far cry from those more rational days. It's fortunate that you never did encounter any Bad Guys, or we probably wouldn't be corresponding now.

I agree with your first choice of weapon. Only an idiot would pick up a 1911A1 if he could pick up a riot gun instead. But I'm not so sure that the shotgun is quicker to load. I can drop an empty and recharge in a very small fraction of a second, barely breaking cadence during rapid fire. Or at least I could back when I was shooting regularly in combat pistol competitions.

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This followup from Scott Kitterman [ 

Generally, I agree with all of that. The problem is that the entire concept of permanence is one that kids aren't equipped to understand until 7-9 years old. With younger kids they do not and cannot be made to understand that death is a permanent condition. That particular topic is one I've had lots of practice on as my wife died of cancer 2 1/2 years ago shortly before my daughter turned 3.

You can show them, but they won't understand the consequences. 

From the home defence perspective, the difference between an unloaded weapon that you've practiced loading rapidly and one that's stored loaded is only a few seconds. That time period may, or may not, turn out to be crucial. For me, I'd rather take the risk of the few seconds and avoid the risk of a kid getting a loaded gun. I understand that other rational people may come to different conclusions.

Were I a North Carolina resident, I'd be opposed to that law. Parents are responsible for their children and that includes making judgments about which risks to take and which to avoid.

BTW, don't draw any general conclusions about loaded weapons on guard duty. That was the rule where I was at the time. Given our relatively low level of training, one safety lecture and one trip to the range every 6 months, we probably where more of a danger to ourselves than any enemy. On other tours I was stationed at facilities guarded by Marines who were much more proficient. I guarantee you their rules where different.

Scott Kitterman

P.S. I also agree about the proper usage of the English language.

I'm sorry to hear about your wife. I can't imagine what the last 2 /12 years must have been like for you and your daughter.

As far as children understanding permanence, I'm sure you're right. And perhaps I should have been more clear. I wasn't suggesting that a six year old should have his own rifle or be able to use it unsupervised, merely that I think it's a good idea to introduce children to firearms at about that age. I think that by the time they're 12, most children are capable of handling a firearm responsibly.

The problem with keeping a gun unloaded is that it's seldom a matter of a few seconds to load one. If you're keeping the gun unloaded because of a child's presence, you're likely to store the gun and the ammunition separately, perhaps even under lock and key. I think a better solution is to depend on the differences in physical strength between a man and a child. For example, even many women have trouble racking the slide on a .45 auto, particularly one with heavy aftermarket springs. Simply keeping the pistol with a loaded magazine but an empty chamber makes the weapon safe around children without seriously affecting the time needed to make it operable. Same thing for many pump-action shotguns. And there are, of course, many things designed for just this purpose, e.g. gun safes with finger holes that only an adult's hand can span.

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This from Bo Leuf []: 

You wrote "I wanted to capture screens shots of Setup. That's not possible directly, because NT isn't running yet, and there's no way to load the screen capture application."

I believe that you could on most computers use the stock keyboard capture off the "Prt Sc" (Print Screen) key. I know that I once captured a setup screen in this way -- made an autonumbered full screen jpeg file. IIRC, it got placed in the current drive root. 

(Re)Discovered the function about a year ago when I ran across a whole set of jpegs that turned out to be game screens -- the kids had been trying to find all the different keyboard commands. Apparently works via the BIOS.

/ Bo


"Bo Leuf" <>
Leuf Network,

Hmm. Since I got this message a couple of days ago, I've tried this method on several installs on a couple of different machines. It didn't work. Perhaps my BIOSs are different from yours, but as far as I know, the PrintScreen function saves only text mode screens.

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This from Joshua D. Boyd []: 

You know, I wonder how many people are going to jump the MS ship over lack of Y2K compliance. I use Office 95 and Windows 95 still. I own Office 97, but I don't like it. It is bloated, and even it weren't, I feel that they've degraded the user interface in many ways.

I still use Windows 95 because I still hear from friends that Windows 98 tends to trash Linux, FreeBSD and BeOS partitions.

So, I still don't know what I will do when Y2K hits those applications. However, I expect that what ever I do will probably involve dumping Microsoft entirely, until I find that I can afford a separate Microsoft only computer for business (actually, many of my friends maintain separate computers with Windows 98 on them for gaming and watching DVDs. Then they use linux or freebsd only on their main computers). 

However, relying on bug fixes for revenue really is a lousy and dishonest way to conduct business. I think programmers should rely on feature upgrades, ports, expanding your market, and when those run out, create a new product. That is the way I conduct myself when I am working.


Joshua Boyd

Probably not many. Most people will "pay the man the two dollars." Many will resent the necessity, no doubt, but most will upgrade to Y2K-compliant MS operating systems and applications. There's just no realistic alternative for most people.

I agree that depending on bug fixes for a continuing revenue stream is despicable, but I don't think Microsoft is really guilty of that. They release service packs and patches pretty regularly, and don't charge for them. My problem with Microsoft has more to do with the emphasis they place on new features versus getting the existing features to work right. My only real problem with Microsoft from a "forced upgrade" point of view is file format incompatibility between older and newer versions. By using new file formats for the newer versions, they effectively force people to upgrade in lockstep. That said, it appears that with Office 2000 they've abandoned that practice. I understand that, with the exception of Access 2000, all Office 2000 file formats are backward and forward compatible between Office 97 and Office 2000. And they did have a good reason for upgrading the Access format.

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This from Robert Rudzki []: 

While i do not agree with everything the animal rights people do, such as releasing hundreds of mink from a fur ranch who promptly tear each other apart and the ones that don't die have to be killed since they are so badly wounded, i have some sympathy for the way we mistreat animals as a matter of routine.

Simply dropping a live lobster or trout into boiling water is hideous in the extreme even though lobsters aren't very cuddly and they are tasty. What would it take to convince people just stabbing the animal in the back of the neck [ie, if it had a back of the neck] with a sharp paring knife moments before the pot drop? it would be like pithing the frog or using the captive bolt on cattle before 'disassembly'.

I am not a vegetarian, but i do believe when an animal has to be killed whether to eat it or because it has become a danger to humans it should be done as quickly and painlessly as possible. And for the ones we eat, the faster they die the less adrenaline they dump into their blood and the meat tastes better.

We had a case here recently where 2 Hmong men got a young German shepherd puppy from the pound took it home and spent 30 minutes beating it death preparatory to cooking it. The neighbors were horrified by the cries of the animal as it was dying and called the police who arrested them for cruelty to animals.

Their lawyer used a cultural defense by saying they did that all the time back in the old country and did not realize animals in the pound were intended for adoption as pets not as an alternative to the butcher shop. I believe they were acquitted and there was talk of making common pet animals illegal to be sold and purchased as food but I don't know if it got anywhere. I am sure these guys really didn't realize how repugnant their actions were to most Californians and cats and dogs are widely eaten in Asia.

A co-worker had once brought his 8 year old girl to work at lunch we got to talking about guns for some reason and she said how awful her dad was for shooting squirrels to make stew. So i asked if she liked to eat chicken and she said it was her favorite food. So what is the moral difference between shooting a squirrel and beheading a chicken? She said it was ok to kill and eat chickens since they were ugly, but squirrels were cute and cuddly...

My wife's best friend went to visit her husband stationed in Korea halfway through his one year remote tour some years ago, he took her downtown to the open market for sightseeing, she asked what the Hangul characters posted over the cat and puppy cages said. The husband said 'price per kilo' and had to explain they were not pets, but live food...

The courts here have already ruled Santeria live sacrifices of animals to be a religious matter and exempt from animal cruelty laws and in Voodoo 'the goat without horns' is code for human sacrifice... While i am not much of a fan of organized religion anything that requires ritual killing of animals or humans to honor the 'Gods' gives me the willies bigtime.

The Wall Street Journal had a recent OP-ED piece on the new Ethics chair at Harvard, this guy maintains that animals have rights to ethical treatment and that handicapped children and inconvenient sick people may also be ethically disposed of if they are unwanted or require lots of expensive medical treatment and will still die...

It has always amazed me how few American police departments use semi-auto shotguns, the common rationale against is 'they might jam' yet like you say 'short-shucking' a pump under stress is very common and accounts for most of the malfunctions of a pump used for police work. i have fired thousands of rounds from a Remington 11-87 Skeet and have had only one jam with factory ammo and that was when the gun had not been cleaned for several sessions. I soaked it with Break-Free and resumed shooting another 4 boxes of shells before i cleaned it.

Some 148 years ago the 9 Old Men Who Wear Black Dresses AKA The Supreme Court ruled that human slaves were also chattel and could be taken and disposed of as the owner saw fit since it was a matter of States' Rights but we all know what happened to States' Rights after 1865.

No doubt many Indians are as horrified seeing fast-food burger joints as Americans are at seeing puppies and kittens sold by the pound as meat on the hoof. But all that proves is that food preferences are cultural and that different practices are accepted in different cultures. Personally, I don't have any problem with someone eating a dog or a cat. I love my dogs, and consider them full family members. But that is my choice, and they are animals. What someone else does with his own property is his business, not mine.



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