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Daynotes Journal

Week of 27 September 1999

Sunday, 03 October 1999 09:53

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, 27 September 1999

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Another week starts, it's after 9:00 already, I can't think of anything interesting to write about here, and I need to get to work anyway. Fortunately, there's some interesting mail.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Rudzki [mailto:rasterho@pacbell.net]
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 1999 11:35 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: RE: Rambus problems and trashing 1000's of new mobos, Libertarian approaches to residential living

Perhaps I gave the wrong impression, dogs barking at the garbage truck in the back alley seem perfectly normal to me, Christ there are times I want to go out to the back fence on the alley and bark at the truck myself, it make so much racket. I am working on a rant about residential noise limits in cities anyway, and designing motorized equipment to be quiet while running if it will be used near houses.

It is all the other times that nothing seems to be happening and the dogs bark for hours that irritate me...

We were at the local Orange Blossom Street Festival here in Riverside last May and noticed diesel power generators scattered about, the odd thing was they were so quite you would not notice one unless you leaned against it and felt the vibration! I am sure it costs more to silence a diesel generator than to let it run wide open like we did in the USAF but it sure do cut down on the noise, honey...

I don't know what your local Municipal Codes say, I based my statements on the local newspaper, they have never been wrong before... =8^-)

But you might try your library and see what the Code actually says, heck if I can own 30+ guns legally what says I can't own 30+ dogs as well.

Heh, we had a blind guy trying to buy a handgun at the gun store I used to work at, and this huge 1 hour discussion broke out amongst all the gun clerks whether this was legal or not. They even called Corporate HQ for guidance, and someone there finally said sell him the gun, there is no law against it, even if he can't shoot it safely it is not our concern, plus he might be a collector and never intend to shoot it at all.

Heck, you can buy a car and not be able to drive it legally in California, why not a handgun...?

In today's legal climate he would sue us for damages and claim we should have known that selling a gun to a blind person was criminal and we owe him $10 million! So it goes...

Yes, well what annoys me more than the garbage truck is the fact that we now have two separate garbage trucks arrive every Friday morning. They call one a "Recycling" truck. They carefully separate out the aluminum, for which there is a market, and then consign the glass, newspaper, etc. to the dump, because no one will buy it. That's a very expensive gesture to the feel-good environmentalists. I recycle all my stuff where it belongs, in the trash.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Rudzki [mailto:rasterho@pacbell.net]
Sent: Sunday, September 26, 1999 10:48 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: Recycling and garbage I am with you.

We actually get 3 runs of garbage trucks here per week!

Monday is 'green waste' day you put out your 240 liter green wheeled container full of grass clippings and yard waste instead of composting it yourself. The City truck takes it to a contractor they pay to 'recycle' it but he is making noises about increasing his dump fee since he can't sell the stuff anywhere near his overhead to run the facility.

Then on Wednesday we get to put out the blue and brown containers, blue has the aluminum cans, plastic etc, and brown is the everyday trash that gets buried in the El Sobrante landfill along with all the non-recycled stuff they truck in from other areas since the County collects $31 for the 'tipping' fee for every truckload of trash dumped regardless of where it is from.

As you say about the only thing the blue recycling contractor does is pull out the aluminum cans and some of the plastic 2 liter softdrink bottles, the rest goes into a pile and gets uploaded onto a truck which heads straight for El Sobrante just like the regular trash to be entombed for centuries in a desert canyon...

I would stop green waste collection entirely, if you have a yard and you cut grass or trim bushes you need to have a compost heap, your old veggies and fruit waste need to go there too.

About the only thing a residence can recycle that has any intrinsic value is aluminum cans, the rest should be taken once by truck and buried somewhere, this 'green revolution' stuff makes otherwise intelligent and educated people just totally abandon logic and critical reasoning.

As someone once said if recycling residential waste made any economic sense, why do we have to coerce ordinary people and then pay contractors to do it?

Well, we actually get three pickups also. I'd forgotten about the rolling yard waste container. We used to get multiple garbage pickups each week, too. As I recall, it alternated. Monday-Wednesday-Friday one week, and Tuesday-Thursday the next. Then, to save money or something, they cut back to one pickup a week. A 60% cut in service level, but without a tax decrease. At least they still do backyard pickup. They'd talked at one point about going to curbside pickup.

Recycling itself is a stupid idea. Environmentalist whackos like it because it forces everyone to fall in with their ideas of how the world should be run, but there is no rational basis for putting residential recycling into practice. It costs more than simply putting everything into a landfill, whether you look at costs in the short- or long-term. To counter this unarguable truth, environmentalist whackos have done their best to make landfills expensive with their ridiculous laws about containing leakage, etc. None of these concerns are even remotely supported by the facts.

Recycling is also more costly in terms of resource consumption, so one would think that if environmentalists were rational, which they clearly are not, that they would oppose recycling efforts. All costs considered, a ton of recycled glass costs more than a ton of glass manufactured from raw materials. More in dollars and more in energy consumption. So why do these people, who profess a concern for the environment, encourage such a profligate waste of resources? The dirty little secret that none of the environmentalist whackos want the rest of to know is that the vast bulk of material picked up by residential recycling programs goes into the landfill anyway. There's no market for it.

As Heinlein pointed out, when an environmentalist looks upon a beaver dam and sees a work of nature, but looks upon a human dam and sees something that should be eliminated, he is unconsciously stating his hatred of his own species and thereby his self-hatred. The worst part of it is that the radical environmentalists have managed to convince a good part of the general public that recycling and other whacko ideas are somehow good and admirable. Most people want to do the Right Thing, so they go along with it. But it makes no sense.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: root@wawrra.pair.com [mailto:root@wawrra.pair.com] On Behalf Of cc
Sent: Sunday, September 26, 1999 11:22 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: BIOS

Hi I know NEC should have the bios update you need but in general you need to find out who made the motherboard, that's where you'll find what you are looking for no doubt.

Having always built my own (hang around a computer store a while and you will hear nothing but bad things about "Big Brand" computers) machines, I have had to fool with bioss on occasion and all the motherbord people are pretty well set to have what you need. The computer makers on the other hand seem to delight in making it hard to do anything other than "send it in". I think this is to give the impression that they have done something exclusive and clever to make their "Thing (tm)" extraordinary, when the opposite is true.

I think if you examine the statistics (yup I've heard the quote before) you'll find that the majority of people injured and killed by firearms are innocent of any wrong doing. Guns kill people ... go ahead, it's pretty hard to even badly injure a person with your bare hands.(Sure ninja boy ... sure). A knife is another thing but still it requires focused intent and a willingness to get up close and personal. The up close and personal is the main thing missing from the gun equation and it is much easier to shoot at a thing at a distance than stick a knife in a person. Guns are dangerous things but if you think you can somehow form a group of untrained people to resist your own governments efforts to enslave you .... well read a little military history, I know the tradition but hey it's ludicrous. Much better to maybe participate in that government and prevent it from being taken over by tyrants.

I would much rather live in a country where deadly weapons are hard to get than to live someplace where I need a deadly weapon to feel "secure"(sure). I come, of course, from the European tradition and Europeans have been killing each other for so long they are starting to get tired of it. Americans may need to let more blood to clue in, I don't know.

Anyway my 2c.

CC

Robert Rudzki ... I was less than complimentry a while ago and we are on opposite sides in the firearms debate, but I must agree with your manly attitude towards the local wildlife, while disagreeing with Robert's somewhat human-centric view. Robert are sure the little monster down the street is worth more than the copperhead? I have to take "Mr splitting maul handle" down and reason with a neighbor and his 8mm express thingy about a mother black bear and her cub who have been perfectly good citizens in this area for most of the year.

-- Upgrade to Linux...the penguins are hungry! Chris Carson aka "GreyDeth" 250-248-0142 http://carnagepro.com

Well, I certainly agree that steering clear of proprietary name-brand PCs is a good idea. One of the reasons that Dell, Gateway, and Micron have been so successful is that they use generic off-the-shelf components that can be upgrade or replaced easily. That's often not true of the "premium" models from big-name makers, although their value lines sold in mass-market retailers are usually just generic machines with the vendor's logo glued on.

As far as the rest, I find nothing to agree with. As far as being human-centric, I am human, and I do not apologize for my position that risking the life of a human child is stupid if the alternative is killing a copperhead. I suspect that nearly anyone who has children, which I do not, would agree with me.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Rudzki [mailto:rasterho@pacbell.net]
Sent: Sunday, September 26, 1999 11:26 PM
To: Robert B. Thompson
Subject: The NEC site is totally useless!

I tried searching for the Nec Ready 9172 bios upgrade and could not find it to save my life!

That is one nasty site, but remember they bought Backward Hell that should tell you something!

Yet another reason to stay away from "name-brand" PCs from companies who do their best to lock you in.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: George Giorganashvili [mailto:ggeorgan@parliament.ge]
Sent: Monday, September 27, 1999 8:09 AM
To: rbt@ttgnet.com
Subject: From George Giorganashvili to Robert Bruce Thompson

Mister Robert Bruce Thompson!

I'm George Giorganashvili and I work in Department of informatic of Parliament of Georgia, and also I am the Administartor of a network, under Windows NT4.0, Association of the Young Georgian Lawyers. In both organizations we have the licensed versions Windows NT4.0, but there is what that problems, which one I could read in what books exhausted by you. If you can will answer on these problems I ask send me your answers:

1. It is possible will arrange so that the customer could print restricted, approximately 20 or 30, pages per day? If it is not possible from Windows NT4.0, maybe there are still other programs for Windows NT4.0, that provided this problem?

2. It is possible to buy Microsoft Proxy Server, separately from Back Office-and, and where it is possible to receive a full manual at this program?

Thanks for all

Sincerely yours George Giorganashvili

E-mail: ggeorgan@parliament.ge, or geg74@hotmail.com,  or ggeorgan@mail.com
el: Office - (995 32) 935470, (995 32) 936101 Home - (995 32) 641961
Home Page: http://www.parliament.ge/~ggeorgan/

I know of no way to restrict the number of pages printed per day in Windows NT 4. There may be a third-party program that adds this functionality, although I don't know how it could do so. Perhaps one of my web site readers will know of something, and can reply to you directly.

As far as Proxy Server, it was (and I believe still is) available as a separate product, at least here in the US. Microsoft packages products differently in different countries, so the best bet would be to contact your nearest Microsoft office for information about which products are available in your region. Proxy Server comes with the usual inadequate Microsoft documentation. A quick search of Amazon.com turned up several Proxy Server titles, most of which are training materials for the MCSE Proxy Server exam. I've not seen any of them, so I can't comment about whether they're useful or not.

 


 

 

 

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Tuesday, 28 September 1999

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I set up a search function for Jerry Pournelle's web site last night. You can view that page here. If you like it, please let Jerry know. I think he's considering just having one main search page rather than embedding search boxes in his regular pages. I find the latter method much more useful.

While I was adding the search boxes to his currentview.html page, I also decided to play around with the formatting a bit, getting rid of some stuff that I found distracting. Some have accused Jerry of being a member of the Ransom Note School of Web Design. I don't know that I'd go that far, and I certainly don't represent myself as a skilled designer, but I do prefer simpler pages with only one or two colors and fonts. I also pasted in both yesterday's view and yesterday's mail, to give Jerry an idea of how a combined page would look. If you like this look better, let him know.

* * * * *

Skye's master is coming to pick him up today. We'll all miss him, including, I think, our own dogs. Skye is about a perfect puppy. He's about seven months old and, with the exception of a couple of accidents soon after he arrived, he hasn't done any of the annoying things that one expects a puppy to do. Duncan had a great time, lying on the floor tussling, snarling, and fanging with Skye. Anyone who doesn't understand dogs would have been horrified, thinking the puppy was in mortal danger. But there was no actual chomping going on, of course. Just their way of playing.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: root@wawrra.pair.com [mailto:root@wawrra.pair.com]On Behalf Of cc
Sent: Monday, September 27, 1999 9:47 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: Re: BIOS

Robert Bruce Thompson wrote:

Well, I certainly agree that steering clear of proprietary name-brand PCs is a good idea. One of the reasons that Dell, Gateway, and Micron have been so successful is that they use generic off-the-shelf components that can be upgrade or replaced easily. That's often not true of the "premium" models from big-name makers, although their value lines sold in mass-market retailers are usually just generic machines with the vendor's logo glued on.

It's not so much the parts, although you are certainly right about the price point driven builds on most of their machines. It's the proprietory crap like the pony video setups on many Packard Bells (ugh) and the phoney 3 meg pre partition on Compaq boxes ... I could go on.

As far as the rest, I find nothing to agree with. As far as being human-centric, I am human, and I do not apologize for my position that risking the life of a human child is stupid if the alternative is killing a copperhead. I suspect that nearly anyone who has children, which I do not, would agree with me.

I have two children, 31 and 20. One of the hardest choices a parent must make is where to put the line between protecting your children and allowing them freedom. That's a line that changes over time of course and when they get to be 10 or so you really can't do much to guard them full time anymore.

I live in the bush on Vancouver Island and the dangers here are Cougars and Hunters. The hunters are an order of magnitude more dangerous than the Cougars, they kill a couple of people a year. The Cougars kill someone about every five or six years. My choice would be to shoot the hunters ... but I let everyone live.

I have taken a small arms "combat course" (at Thompson Mountain, as fate would have it ;) and am passable with a 1911A. I just see no reason in a civilized society for such things to be wide spread. I am lucky enough to live in one ... to be quite honest you do not seem to be as lucky as me.

CC

Upgrade to Linux...the penguins are hungry! Chris Carson aka "GreyDeth" 250-248-0142 http://carnagepro.com

Well, it appears that we disagree on most things. I agree that a hunter who accidentally shoots someone should be punished, but I think that a cougar who kills someone should be hunted down and shot. Most wild animals are smart enough to understand that humans are not prey. Those that aren't can't be educated otherwise, so the only alternative I see is to exterminate them. As far as personal weapons, I see the bearing of arms as essential to a civilized society rather than as a detriment to it.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Alan Donders [mailto:alan_donders@hotmail dot com]
Sent: Monday, September 27, 1999 1:09 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Cc: jerryp@jerrypournelle.com
Subject: New Use for 3.5" Floppy Drive

Further to an earlier thread regarding the demise of the 3.5" floppy drive on new PC's, a company called UTM Systems is testing a hardware device that turns a 3.5" drive into a Mag Stripe Card Reader. More at 

Alan Donders
alan_donders@hotmail dot com

Hmm. That strikes me as an invention on a par with the electric fork. Real mag stripe readers aren't that expensive, so I can't imagine why anyone would want to cobble together some Rube Goldberg device from a floppy drive.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Rudzki [mailto:rasterho@pacbell.net]
Sent: Monday, September 27, 1999 10:36 PM
To: Robert B. Thompson
Subject: Ethical treatment of other humans and animals

The guy filling the recent Ethics Chair at Harvard, his name escapes me for some reason, has written books and espoused the idea that we need to treat animals better instead of as 'things' to be killed for fun ['hunting'] or disposed of when no longer amusing.

[Just visit your local dog pound to see the misery and throwaway dogs and cats that must be executed every week. Our prisons are also full of throwaway people except we don't execute them every week, we feed them, let them train and bulk up on gym weight-lifting equipment, then let them out for 'good behavior' so they can hurt ordinary citizens again and again. We call that rehabilitation...]

Surprisingly, he also says that humans can ethically be disposed of when they become inconvenient, not just capital murderers, but unwanted children, poor sick people, the mentally ill that will never become self-sufficient, why spend a fortune on extraordinary medical interventions for a sick 80 year old who will die anyway in a couple of years, just give him pain killers until he kicks off.

Personally I don't much care for abortion but since as a man I can't get pregnant I don't worry all that much about it. Realistically IMO we should fund free abortion for poor women in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, society will be better off 15 years from now when those unwanted males would start killing each other and robbing all night liquour stores.

The recent drops in crime have been attributed to vastly increased access to safe legal abortions about 18 years ago... according to my local paper and the wire services.

How come you have to pass a written and practical test to get a license to drive a car, but any 12 year old girl can get pregnant, and keep and raise the baby with no training, permission or qualifications required?

Robert Rudzki
NRA Life Member BPL2997J-029368
rasterho@pacbell.net
http://home.pacbell.net/rasterho
"If the Government did not intend illegal aliens to have the vote, why do they print the ballot and election materials in Spanish...?"

Yes, well, animals are chattel and I have no patience with the ASPCA, PETA, or the other "animal rights" maniacs. That's not to say that I don't have contempt for people who mistreat animals. I do. But animals are property, and an owner has the right to do what he wants with his own property. Period. And I agree that people can ethically be disposed of, presuming that they themselves are in favor. I have never understood why we euthanize pets who are suffering but refuse to allow people the same option. Every person has the right to decide when to end his own life. The fact that the government fights strenuously to prevent people from exercising that right is simply a holdover from the Judeo-Christian morality that unfortunately (and probably unconstitutionally) forms the basis of many of our civil and criminal laws.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Bo Leuf [mailto:bo@leuf.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 1999 6:08 AM
To: rasterho@pacbell.net
Cc: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: garbage trucks

Robert Rudzk wrote...

"I am working on a rant about residential noise limits in cities anyway, and designing motorized equipment to be quiet while running if it will be used near houses."

There are some aspects of where I live that are positive I guess. Garbage trucks for example. Some years ago a decision was taken in the city to deploy electric garbage trucks -- 9 tons of batteries in the undercarriage. Apart from the whining of the hydraulic pumps, these huge suckers are decently quiet. OTOH, the pickup area is not very close to our apartment, so noise wouldn't matter much, though I appreciate the lack of diesel exhausts. OTTH (On the third hand), the big container trucks that pick up recycled paper and larger junk are both diesel and unbelievably efficient at shattering the morning calm. They have this bad habit of banging and clanging the container about with the lift to empty it into the truck's larger container, and the rusted wheels squeal something awful when it's being wiggled back into place.

We were supposed to get a more advanced recycling scheme at our block last spring, but it kind of got voted down. What actually happened was that there is a law saying that at least 50% of the residents have to be in favor, but they forgot to ask in advance. After all the ruckas, when the form to fill in came by, turns out they got very few Ayes. The plan had been to close off the garbage chutes in the stairways, and put 6-station recycle bins out in the common yard, plus dry and wet unsorted. Very complex because of the quasi-market-driven situation: can/bottle/package type A is ok because they will be bought back, can/bottle/package type B is not and so must go with other trash. Gah...

Beverage cans and bottles are mostly recycled through the shops. The most recent incarnation of the machines there now accept most anything, and automatically sort behind the scenes based on barcodes. The deposit refund receipt may then specify e.g. 7 cans rejected 0.00, 6 cans refund x.xx, for what was crunched up. Some cans are still spit out for unreadable barcodes, but it beats the previous situation when the readable rejects were also spat out.

It makes sense to recycle alu cans of course, these being both high purity and highly compressable returns and energy-costly to produce from scratch. The economic incentive for the consumer has here always been the deposit (like earlier it was with glass bottles when these were washed and reused whole). But that aside, remelting cans makes good bottom-line economic sense for the producers. Glass is evidently more iffy to recycle unless you have a reasonably "pure" source (such as pre-sorted bottles or window glass) -- residentially collected glass has here proven very problematical because of the random inclusion of for example "crystal" which can cause bottles remade from this source to spontaneously shatter/explode under moderate stress (carbonated drinks). Paper recycling, mainly newsprint and carton, easily differentiated and evidently an economic proposition to use for non-critical production, works well. Battery recycling, especially the mercury cells, is supposed to be efficient and worthwhile, but as far as I can see, it is still too bothersome (few places to leave the used batteries) for most to comply with.

There was an intriguing "stink" about recycling, dangerous waste dumping, and corruption in Europe back when Germany had just been reunited. Before this a number of "green" disposal companies had lucrative contracts to safely take care of and destroy dangerous industrial waste. When East Germany became open, it surfaced that these companies had made deals with DDR, paying the commie regime hard DM currency to be allowed to truck the stuff across th border and just dump it in some East German fields and landfills.

"As someone once said if recycling residential waste made any economic sense, why do we have to coerce ordinary people and then pay contractors to do it?"

This is a very good point, and would clearly be the natural situation if the producers, middlemen and consumers also had to pay the true cost for resources that they now see as essentially "free". I mean this is the fundamental problem, that even the "free markets" are not really, because there are a lot of distorting influences (regulatory, subsidies, handouts, inappropriate pricing). Thinking about it, I suspect it is as Heinlein implied in some of his novels, that a "true free market" cannot appear until independent self-sustained space colonies are a functional reality. In that kind of environment, the life- sustaining resources all have a well-defined price, so "environmentally friendly" is then an integral part of the cost equation. The sorry attempts earthside to set monetary value on "free" resources have so far been absurd and pathetic.

On the subject of diesel, most buses here are now LNG-driven. Makes a big difference in air quality. But I know what you mean about super-silenced diesel generators and compressors -- there's a lot of engineering hours gone into that area and it has paid off.

/ Bo
--
"Bo Leuf" bo@leuf.com
Leuf fc3 Consultancy
http://www.leuf.com/

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Alan Donders [mailto:alan_donders@hotmail dot com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 1999 9:51 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: RE: New Use for 3.5" Floppy Drive

Initially read about this in a banking trade journal. The implication from the article was that the cost for this new gadget would be less expensive enough compared to a mag stripe reader that banks would be able to give them for free to their home banking customers.

Alan Donders
alan_donders@hotmail dot com

Ah. Now I see the point. Presumably this could also be used for keycard security and such.

 


 

 

 

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Wednesday, 29 September 1999

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Interesting stuff in the paper this morning. First, some maniac is planting bombs in Lowes home improvement stores in our area. Two bombs have gone off already, severely injuring at least one person and causing numerous less severe injuries. Another suspected bomb was found yesterday at another Lowes store. Police suspect that a disgruntled former employee is behind these outrages. If they catch the guy and convict him, I hope they sentence him to be handcuffed to a bomb.

Also, doctors have apparently found by accident that botulism toxin, used in tiny doses as an anti-wrinkle skin treatment, relieves migraine headaches for long periods, as much as several months. The best existing drugs relieve migraines for hours at most. We have several friends who suffer from severe migraines, so I hope this treatment becomes available quickly for them.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Jan Swijsen [mailto:qjsw@oce.nl]
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 1999 12:08 PM
To: Robert Bruce Thompson
Subject: Environment.


Recycling itself is a stupid idea. Environmentalist whackos like it because it forces everyone to fall in with their ideas of how the world should be run, but there is no rational basis for putting residential recycling into practice. It costs more than simply putting everything into a landfill, whe

Belgium is not as big as America, but with a higher population density. From almost any point in the country you can see houses, there are simply no large open spaces left (except a few military domains). Finding new places for landfills is really becoming a problem, nobody is going to welcome a landfill in his backyard. That means that the existing landfills are under pressure. All this is driving costs up, to a point where recycling becomes economically viable.

Lots of waste is being incinerated to reduce the dumping volume (there is not enough incineration capacity but again nobody wants an incinerator in his backyard etc. ) and to incinerate the garbage must be sorted and separated. Some things don't burn well. So why not recycle while it is already sorted out?

And your point about recycling glass is not (entirely) correct. Making glass from shards requires less energy than making it from sand. Of course that is not counting the transport of the shards. Here we are not allowed to add class to the general waste, we must carry it to special containers so most of  the costs are are not via 'direct taxes'. This container stuff was only organized after commercializing the recycled glass operation. The private operators were not making enough profit when they had to get it in house-to-house collection. 

Environmentalist whackos like it because it forces everyone to fall in with their ideas of how the world should be run,

Sorry but since when have environmentalist whacos ideas about running the world?

recycling and other whacko ideas are somehow good a

Well recycling is a good idea, only it should not be applied anywhere and everywhere. A rocket engine is also a good idea. But not on a bicycle.

Kind regards,
Svenson

Well, as I said, I was referring to residential recycling, which makes no sense, at least here in the United States where we have no shortage of good disposal sites. Europe, with its much higher population density and smaller land mass may indeed be a different situation. Recycling is a good idea only where it makes economic sense. What we are doing in this country makes no economic sense.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck Waggoner [mailto:waggoner at gis dot net]
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 1999 1:57 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Tony Blair's speech today

Following is an excerpt from Blair's speech  before his Party's political conference:

"It is time to move beyond the social indifference of right and left, libertarian nonsense masquerading as freedom."

Good thing my ancestors left the big Isle for America ages ago.

He did have a funny quip about the Tories earlier on:

"Today's Tory party - the party of fox hunting, Pinochet and hereditary peers: the uneatable, the unspeakable and the unelectable. ... "The only Party that spent two years in hibernation in search of a new image and came back as the Addams family.

"Under John Major, it was weak, weak, weak.

"Under William Hague, it's weird, weird, weird.

"Far right, far out.

"But not far enough for some. Like the letter I got last week from a man who said did I know the Tories had been listening to Britain. They can't have been listening too hard, he said. They're still here."

Also, check out Glasgow, Kentucky 

I saw reference to this on CNBC last night: a community that provides residents with both cable TV AND cable modem for only $21.90/mo for both (I pay $40/mo for cable with cable modems not even on the horizon). It's an under 20,000 population town, but the TV report said some residents demanded high speed Internet access and got it through the electric utility, which also handles their cable TV. The electric utility is a non-profit.

--Chuck Waggoner [waggoner at gis dot net]

PS I'm with you on Pournelle's pages. He could cut his mail down by two-thirds, because I haven't got much more time than that: one representative pro and con per topic is enough! I skip much of it.

Interesting. I can't comment on Blair, because I don't follow British politics. As far as Glasgow, KY, perhaps we should all move there. Winston-Salem is supposedly a "connected city", and yet I can't get either a cable modem or DSL service. That surprises me, because we live only a mile or so from Wake Forest University. As far as Pournelle, I understand your objection, but I also understand why he does it. I'm guilty of the same thing myself. Although I reply privately to a lot of mail instead of posting it here, I sometimes post messages that I otherwise wouldn't have posted just because the reader took the time to write to me.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Svenson Sjon [mailto:sjon@svenson.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 1999 5:24 PM
To: Robert Thompson
Subject: Mag stripe reader

Bob,

Real mag stripe readers aren't that expensive, so I can't imagine why anyone would want to cobble together so

It is one less separate box on your desk if you can plug it into a floppy drive. And one less power convertor brick. And it works with any computer, it doesn't eat a serial slot or daisy chains off the overburdened parallel port. And yet it works with computers without USB or with a USB unfriendly OS.

I think that for the few people that need it could be a great toy.

Regards,
Svenson

Good points. Of course, what I'd really like is a mag stripe *writer*.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: J.H. Ricketson [mailto:culam@neteze.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 1999 1:34 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Cc: jerryp@jerrypournelle.com
Subject: Jerry Pournelle's Web Site

Bob -

Just saw your take on Jerry Pournelle's Web Site. I _like_ it! Less confusing than his version. A possible bonus not mentioned is probable ease of maintenance (read: less time spent fighting FP, et al, & more time for worthwhile activity.) I hope he likes it.

One small quibble: I would like to see the parchment extend left all the way to the vertical black line. As it is, it pushes my browser (NS 4.61) off center, and necessitates a horizontal scrollbar at the bottom, and using it to align the text with the viewed window.

Best regards,

JHR
--
culam@neteze.com
[J.H. Ricketson in San Pablo]

Thanks. I didn't make any effort to straighten out the parchment and so on. I was more concerned about the text, the links, and so on. We'll see what happens.

 


 

 

 

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Thursday, 30 September 1999

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It's monsoon season here in Winston-Salem. We had 2" (5 cm) of rain yesterday, on top of the 3" (7.5 cm) we'd had the two preceding days. That on top of what we got from Floyd. The drought is definitely over.

Here's some important news if you've bought a Western Digital Caviar drive recently. Western Digital is recalling about 400,000 of their Caviar drives that use 6.8 GB platters, and range in size from 6.4 GB to 20.5 GB. These drives are part of a production run of 1,000,000 drives manufactured between August 27th and September 24th. A defective chip means that these drives will likely fail to power up after 6 to 12 months' use. Affected model numbers include: WD64AA, WD68AA, WD84AA, WD100AA, WD102AA, WD135AA, WD136AA, WD170AA, WD172AA, WD200AA, and WD205AA. Full details are available on the Western Digital web site, along with a utility you can run to see if your drive is one of those affected.

I noticed the other day that Barbara's new workstation, theodore, seemed to be bogging down on local processes during heavy disk access from other machines on the network. That seemed strange, given that her new system runs a Pentium III and a 7200 Maxtor Ultra-ATA hard disk. I ran some quick benchmarks on the disk, and found that it was providing sustained transfer rates of only about 5 MB/s, with CPU utilization of 78%. The little light bulb came on over my head. When I was configuring this system, I'd obviously forgotten to enable DMA transfers. By default, Windows NT uses PIO mode transfers, which are slow and bog down the CPU.

I downloaded the dmachecki.exe utility from Microsoft and ran it. Sure enough, DMA was disabled. I enabled DMA and restarted Barbara's system. Running the benchmarks again showed that sustained throughput had more than tripled, from 5 MB/s to more than 15 MB/s. More important, CPU utilization dropped from 78% to 1.18%. In other words, PIO mode transfers require about 66 times more CPU attention than DMA transfers. No wonder local processes were bogging.

If you're running NT on a system with a DMA-capable ATA hard disk, do yourself a favor and enable DMA. It won't turn your ATA hard disks into SCSI hard disks, but it sure puts them within striking distance.

I somehow deleted an email from a reader. Either that, or Outlook did it for me. I tend to believe the latter. The message was there one time and gone the next. I can't remember who sent the message, but it asked why I was using the Pentium III/550 for my dual-CPU monster system rather than the Pentium III/600 or /600B. The short answer is that the Pentium III/550 is really the fastest standard processor that Intel sells.

As regular readers know, I'm no fan of overclocking, whether it's done by the end-user or the manufacturer. The simple truth is that the Pentium III/600 and 600B are overclocked processors. Officially overclocked, granted, but overclocked nonetheless. If you examine the S-Spec data for these 600 MHz processors, you'll find that they require 2.05 volts rather than the standard 2.00 volts. There's no better indication that they're overclocked. The Deschutes core obviously reached its absolute limit at 550 MHz. Intel apparently felt the need to introduce a 600 MHz processor in response to the Athlon announcement. It looks like the only way they could do that was by changing the 5.5X multiplier on a Pentium III/550 core to 6.0X and then boosting the voltage to allow that CPU to run at higher than design speed.

In his current BYTE.com column, Jerry Pournelle suggests that readers avoid using the Intel SE440BX-2 "Seattle-2" motherboard, saying in essence that Intel has cost-reduced it to the point of it becoming unreliable. I've been a big proponent of Intel motherboards for years, so this problem, if generally true rather than just an isolated problem with one board, is of great concern to me. I've used a lot of Intel boards and I've never had problems with any of them. Well, that's not strictly true. In the very early days when Intel had first begun to make Pentium motherboards, they turned out a couple of models that were real dogs, but every one of their Slot 1 or later boards that I've seen has been top-notch. At any rate, here's the message I sent to Pournelle, with some material from his web journal today appearing first indented:

Needless to say, Intel isn't terribly happy with my comments in the current BYTE.com column on their cost-reduced board. They say I must have a bad copy, try another; which I am in fact going to do. We'll see. But you could see the noise on that board with a scope. Maybe it was a bad copy. I was more inclined to believe it was fewer grounding points. But we will see.

I've been following the SE440BX-2 "Seattle-2" motherboard situation with some interest. Obviously this problem, if generally true, is of great concern to me. I've been recommending Intel boards to my readers for quite some time, and I have to say that my experience with those boards has been universally good. I have several of the original SE440BX "Seattle" boards, and they seem solid, stable, and well constructed. I've not used a Seattle-2, although I have seen one.

I'm not sure I understand your reference to grounding points. I'm not an EE, although I do have a fairly solid background in electronics, so please excuse me if this is an ignorant question. As far as I know, the Seattle-2 uses exactly the same grounding points as any other ATX board, which is to say (a) the mounting holes, which ground to brass supports in the chassis, (b) the grounding leads of the power supply connector, (c) the grounding points on the I/O panel, (d) the grounding leads of signal cables (e.g. IDE), which connect drives and other peripherals to the motherboard, and (e) indirectly, the grounding leads of expansion cards which are secured to the chassis. As far as I am aware, (a) through (d) are dead standard, and (e) depends on which cards are installed.

You also make reference in your article to "quality of line termination and filters" and I'm not sure what that means. As far as I can tell by visual observation, the SE440BX-2 uses capacitors that appear to be of a similar number and size to those used on other Intel boards. But perhaps visual appearance is deceiving. I certainly don't have the equipment here to do traces and observe signals on the GTL+ bus.

I'm very much hoping that your test results were anomalous, perhaps due to a bad example rather than to an engineering defect. Although I've never recommended the SE440BX-2 board specifically, my strong recommendation of other Intel boards means that I'm very concerned to find the truth of this matter. Please let me know what you find when you test another example of the SE440BX-2. I'd also be very interested in seeing example screen captures of the misbehaving board versus a good board. I don't know that I'd understand the subtleties, but it would be interesting to see them nonetheless.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Jan Swijsen [mailto:qjsw@oce.nl]
Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 1999 9:56 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: Re: Mag stripe reader

Bob,

To rewrite the strip on your credit card maybe :~)

Here in Europe we are switching over from magnetic strip cards to chip cards so a chip card reader/writer would be more interesting.

Another advantage of such a device that can be plugged into a floppy drive is that you only need one if you have various computers. And you don't have to reach over the computer, wrestling with cables to connect or disconnect.

Regards,
Svenson

Yes, okay, I'll admit it. Ever since I can remember I've always regarded anything locked as a challenge. I do kind of wonder what information is on those stripes...

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Jan Swijsen [mailto:qjsw@oce.nl]
Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 1999 11:48 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: Re: Environment.

Bob,

If there are no dramatic occurrences (meteor hits or so) America will get our problem too. Population densities will keep on growing (if they don't you can prepare for some economic bad times) and pressure for land and disposal sites will keep growing until it make economic sense to start recycling. Starting early will provide recyclers with some urgently needed experience. Starting too early wastes money.

Not everything going on in this world has to make economic sense. And some things that don't make economic sense now may in the long term prove to be positive. For example this mail. It costs me time to type, it costs you time to read and it costs bandwidth from the internet. And I don't see a positive economic effect or purpose for it. It makes sense on a personal satisfaction level. It enriches our lives (well mine at least) but in an emotional way not in an economic way. Should we stop all things that don't make economical sense now?

Regards,
Svenson

I don't think so. What environmentalists fail to recognize is that humans are rare in the biological sense. A year or so ago, we had two of our friends over for dinner. They're environmentalist sympathizers, but nice in all other respects. Just as an example, I pointed out to them that Forsyth County (the county where Winston-Salem is located) is about 20 miles square (32 km square). I asked them to visualize tight-packing people in ranks, allocating 2 square feet (0.186 square metre) for each person. What percent of the total global population, I asked, would fit into Forsyth County on that basis. Their answers were very small percentages. The real answer, of course, is 100%. There just aren't that many people on the whole planet.

The other consideration is that populations do not grow to the levels you seem to expect. Something happens, usually a plague, to cut down on those numbers. And we have an awful lot of space to fill. Europeans don't realize on a gut level just how big the US is. The state I live in is relatively small and densely populated as states go. North Carolina is about the size of Great Britain, and has about one tenth the population. And, size-wise, you could drop North Carolina and several other Eastern states into any one of several Western states.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul S R Chisholm psrchisholm@yahoo.com
Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 1999 5:29 PM
To: Robert Bruce Thompson Subject: recycling costs/benefits

You write:

"Recycling itself is a stupid idea. Environmentalist whackos like it ... None of these concerns are even remotely supported by the facts."

Here's a good book (only 180 pages) with hard economic findings, from a former "environmentalist whacko" now more interested in data than dogma:

Frank Ackerman, WHY DO WE RECYCLE? MARKETS, VALUES, AND PUBLIC POLICY 

Summary: *Both* extremes are wrong; some recycling programs are no-brain economic wins (even in the US), while others can't be justified without an almost religious fervor. Recommended reading.

Well, I guess that depends on how you define an extreme. I certainly don't think that recycling is a bad thing under all circumstances. The material you quoted from me refers to residential recycling, as opposed to industrial recycling. And I have no problem with voluntary residential recycling. That's what we had around here until several years ago. People accumulated glass, aluminum, etc. and carried it to the recylcling centers every month or two. That made sense. In fact, my wife used to do it, and I had no objections to that. What doesn't make sense is putting in place this massive, costly infrastructure to recycle stuff that isn't worth bothering about.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Svenson Sjon [mailto:sjon@svenson.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 1999 5:06 PM
To: Robert Thompson
Subject: "animal rights" maniacs

Bob,

But animals are property, and an owner has the right to do what he wants with his own property. Period.

In the old times slaves were the property of their owners. So killing people was all right then but not anymore now. Maybe animals are following that trend.

You say animals are property. Who is then the owner of all these #@%$_ mosquitos that are eating me? I will immediately sue him for damages. :-) BTW who was the owner of that Copperhead?

ps I am a biologist but not an environmentalist, my preferred subject was paleo-ecology. Not directly something to save. Although ...

Regards, Svenson

Well, obviously I was referring to livestock and pets--things that can be bought and sold--rather than to wildlife, although I do maintain that a property owner has an ownership interest in the wildlife that resides on his property (the king's deer and all that). One of the basic precepts of libertarianism is that humans cannot be owned. As I've said before on these pages, what is legal and what is moral are two completely unrelated concepts. Yes, it has been legal to buy and sell humans at various times and various places. In fact, some would argue that that is the natural state of things. Slave societies are certainly more common historically than non-slave societies.

But simply because something is legal does not mean it is moral or right, just as the converse is true. Justice Jackson commented on this issue during the Nuremberg Trials. The Nazis killed millions of people, but they violated no laws whatsoever in doing so. Every person they sent to the gas chambers was executed legally under German law. By international agreement, the US and the other Allies recognized German law as valid in its jurisdiction, just as Germany recognized US laws as being valid in our jurisdiction. There was no basis in international law to prosecute any of the high Nazis tried at Nuremberg. Fortunately, the lawyers recognized the absurdity of this and hanged the sons of bitches. But in legal terms, the Nuremberg Trials were in fact a lynching.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: J.H. Ricketson [mailto:culam@neteze.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 30, 1999 12:13 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: Human Action - 50th Anniv. Ed.

Bob -

I commend to you Jude Wanniski's 9/29 column at: in which a review of Ludwig von Mises' Human Action, 50th Anniv. Ed. appears. It persuaded me to buy it. (amazon,US$24.95 paperback, US$65 hardcover). After reading the review I felt that it would be of significant help in understanding the workings of my universe - a requirement if I intend to attempt to change it for the better in any way. I don't know how economics has affected your world view, but even a cursory study (texts: Bye & Hewitt, Samuelson) has provided me with a rather effective bullshit filter: for instance, If I hear a pol promise to directly or indirectly reduce taxes and at the same time increase spending, I KNOW this is BS. And on to more subtle variations of the BS filter.

FWIW - I don't expect every EMail I send to you to be posted. At my age I have pretty well sorted out my ego situation. Many of my EMails are from me to a fellow pilgrim & friend, FYI. You know your readers. If you feel any of my EMails are of interest, so be it. But I'm not bothered if I don't see my name in print.

Regards,

JHR

Thanks. I've read _Human Action_ several times now, and I learn more each time I read it. Ludwig von Mises was an intellectual giant, and I commend this work to anyone who has any interest in economics, politics, or government. It's not easy reading, but it is one of the most important books of this century.

As far as publishing email, I post on average perhaps 1/3 of the "threaded" messages I receive. I try to maintain a balance. That is, I don't refuse to post messages that disagree with my positions, although I do consider the appropriateness of the content. I used to post some "moron letters", but I've pretty much given that up. They're sometimes amusing, but not really worth the space. All of that means that the ratio of letters sent to letters posted varies by person. For some people, I post a very high percentage. For some, I post none or next-to-none. In fact, I have one guy who's probably sent me a dozen or more messages and I've never posted a one of them. I guess I upset him, because I don't hear from him any more.

 


 

 

 

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Friday, 1 October 1999

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More bad news for Rambus. Samsung has apparently stopped production of RDRAM, and it may be just the first to do so. The indefinite delay in the Intel 820 chipset means there's no demand for Rambus RDRAM. That, combined with the skyrocketing price of SDRAM, means that memory manufacturers are scrambling to reallocate manufacturing resources to produce SDRAM, which is now profitable again. My take is that SDRAM prices will likely drop dramatically by about year-end. The flip side of that is that the 820 chipset, when it finally arrives, is likely to be hampered by shortages of RDRAM, which will be even more costly than it is now. This delay also provides a window of opportunity for such competiting technologies as double data rate SDRAM (DDR-SDRAM) and synchronous link DRAM (SLDRAM). Things are not looking good for RDRAM.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: jerryp [mailto:jerryp@jerrypournelle.com]|
Sent: Friday, October 01, 1999 1:29 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: RE: SE440BX-2

Grounding planes within the board, Separators. Sorry. I wrote in a hurry

Okay, thanks. I confess that I don't know enough about the low-level details of motherboard construction to understand what you're talking about.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Jan Swijsen [mailto:qjsw@oce.nl]
Sent: Thursday, September 30, 1999 11:50 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: Re: "animal rights" maniacs

What is legal and what is moral are two completely unrelated concepts but then what is moral to some may conflict with the morals of others. In many slave societies slaves were not perceived as equal to humans, so even 'libertarians' in those times would think that slaves could be owned. Morals and laws are both just rules, ideally they should coincide and evolve in harmony. They don't. At least law should reflect the morals of the majority of the population. They don't.

Regards,
Svenson

ps. Law = Light Anti-tank Weapon

Although I don't doubt that I am to some extent a product of my environment, I would certainly have been against slavery in the year 999 or 99, just as I am in 1999. I agree that laws should reflect morality, but they do so only by coincidence. As Cicero said, "the more laws, the less justice."

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck Waggoner [mailto:waggoner at gis dot net]
Sent: Thursday, September 30, 1999 4:39 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Righteous Indignation

You're going to love Walt Mossberg's column in today's Wall Street Journal 

Not that it will do any good, but it sure makes me feel better.

--Chuck Waggoner [waggoner at gis dot net]

Well, I sympathize with his problems, but anyone running Windows 9X, Netscape Navigator, and AOL has to expect problems. He could solve 99% of his problems by changing to Windows NT, IE, and a real ISP.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Rudzki [mailto:rasterho@pacbell.net]
Sent: Thursday, September 30, 1999 11:17 PM
To: Robert B. Thompson
Subject: Legal and moral and ethical can indeed be the same only different...

"Fortunately, the lawyers recognized the absurdity of this and hanged the sons of bitches. But in legal terms, the Nuremberg Trials were in fact a lynching."

Bob, as much as I hated what the Nazis did from 1933 to 1945 including murdering a large part of my family that lived back then, letting lawyers get the credit for hanging people who lost a war is a bit much coming from you. How many Russians in the NKVD and the Red Army were hanged for the mass murders of captured Polish officers in Katyn and the White Sea in 1940?

Was this an absurdity or not? Do you condone lynching of losing combatants in wartime by legal mumbo-jumbo?

About the only legal rationale for prosecuting Nazi leaders after The Second Great War would be the Geneva Conventions on treatment of Allied POW's and civilians of occupied lands and the German military would have the primary responsibility on that charge.

And there were atrocities on a massive scale in all the occupied lands, the EinsatzCommando and the Anti-Partisan Units, the SS, the SD, the Gestapo all had a lot of 'splainin' to do in May of 1945. But many of these people were given free passes to Argentina and Brazil by US Intelligence Agencies in exchange for information about the Russians and our new enemies in the East.

The murder of millions in the gas chambers and death camps was an internal German matter and international law did not apply as you point out.

Robert Rudzki
NRA Life Member BPL2997J-029368
rasterho@pacbell.net
http://home.pacbell.net/rasterho

Well, I'm not sure why the lawyers wouldn't get the credit. The Nuremberg Trials were a judicial proceeding, after all. I have no idea how many NKVD staff were hanged for participating in the Katyn Forest massacre, but I'd guess none. I do not condone lynching combatants, but I do believe in calling the civilian and military leaders to account for their decisions. The judicial murder of 6,000,000 or more people cannot be permitted to go unpunished. The fact that it occurred under color of authority makes it worse, not better. I must confess that I have never read the Geneva Protocols, so I can't judge the validity of that point. I do know, however, that the Germans in general complied with the Geneva Protocols as to POWs. In fact, they had the lowest in-custody death rate of any major combatant, including the US. And that the Germans were able to murder millions of people completely legally simply proves that what is legal and what is right are the same only by coincidence.

 


 

 

 

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Saturday, 2 October 1999

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What a morning. Sorry for the late update. Something odd is happening on kerby, my main workstation. It started Tuesday morning. I have Diskeeper 4.0 set to automatically defrag my drive at 3:00 a.m. each morning. When I arrived in my office it was still dark, but the room was illuminated by my monitor. That was odd. I quickly found out why the monitor hadn't blanked. The following error message was centered on my monitor.

dk4-error.png (2103 bytes)

I immediately fired off an email to my technical contact at Diskeeper. He responded as follows:

You have a problem on that drive. The advisement we have received from our development staff is that this type of error appears when DISKEEPER finds an unrecognized but not illegal condition it does not know how to handle. They advise running CHKDSK /F /R. This may fix the issue that is causing the error. (NOTE: If you are using Service Pack 4, leave off the /R qualifier, or make sure you have a current backup of that partition. We have seen (rare) problems with that service pack.)

If this does not correct the error, with the inclusion of a Dr. Watson log we can decipher where in our code the problem occurred. If you have a log and the error continues, please e-mail me back so that I can forward you a form to accompany the log that can be forwarded to our developers.

The only solution we have seen 100% success with is a full backup, reformat and restore. Other than that, we have seen the problem "go away" after an unspecific period of system utilization.

We believe we have fully resolved this problem in Diskeeper 5.0. We can't yet be certain, because there may be conditions we are not aware of, but so far the problem has not recurred.

So, of course, I hoped the problem would "go away" and left it at that. Wednesday morning everything was normal. No error. Thursday morning, I had the same error, but on a different file. This morning, I had the same error on still another file.

I had to do a full backup first, which took a while. I then did a chkdsk /f, shut down the system, and restarted it. It went through a long process of checking file and index integrity, and finally notified me that it had found and fixed several "minor" errors. After the restart completed, I ran Diskeeper 4.0 again. It blew up almost immediately, saying that it had found a corrupted file during the scan. At this point, I think my disk is mostly okay, but I'll keep an eye on it. And hope that Diskeeper 5.0, which I have on the way to me, will work without giving those scary error messages.

* * * * *

This next series of messages started when I read Dave Farquhar's web page entry for yesterday, where I found the following:

After enabling DMA on my work machine, as recommended by Bob Thompson this week, any attempts to access my CD-R prompted a visit from the dreaded blue screen

Okay. That sounds to me as though you have your CD-R and hard disk installed on the same ATA channel, which is a bad idea anyway. Best solution is to put both sources (hard drive and CD-ROM) as primary master and slave and the CD-R as master on the secondary. Some ATAPI devices lie by saying they support DMA transfers when they really don't. Most ATAPI CD-R(W) drives do not support DMA.

Best solution is to enable DMA detection only on the channel where the hard disk resides. DMA enabling is per-channel, so you can't use one DMA device and another non-DMA device on the same channel and still run DMA. If at least one device on a channel is non-DMA capable, Windows *should* detect that and disable DMA for that channel (whether or not you enabled DMA detection for that channel).

Should have clarified. The CD-R is the master on the other channel (the HD is on the primary channel alone; CD-R is master on secondary and CD-ROM is slave). I never slave an IDE CD-R because of the danger of underruns. For that matter I never buy IDE CD-Rs for myself, but that's what my employers keep buying, so I get plenty of unwanted experience with them.

I was thinking the same thing about channels, so I tried re-enabling DMA on the primary channel but not the secondary. Same thing happened.

OTOH, I had a Philips CD-RW (IDE also) in another NT box at my previous job, and I know I had DMA enabled on that machine (both channels I believe) without any problems.

It seems like a quirk with this particular model of HP CD-R to me. Are you inclined to think the same thing?

Actually, I'm inclined to think that something else is wrong. When you use Dmacheck, you're not really enabling DMA. You're telling Windows NT to detect the presence of DMA-capable interfaces and devices the next time it boots. If it detects what it considers to be a DMA-capable interface that has only DMA-capable device(s) connected, it then actually enables DMA, but only for that channel. There should be no effect on the other ATA channel at all.

My first guess would be a cable problem. I'd replace the cables on both channels and see if that clears the problem. It is also possible that the interface is flawed on that computer, in the sense that it is reporting that it is DMA-capable when it in fact is not. I seem to remember that the PIIX3 and some others had troubles with DMA.

Hmm. Cheap IDE cables strike again. Figures. I've started recommending other people buy those 80-conductor UltraDMA/66 cables even if they don't need them, because chances are they'll be higher quality. They've helped everyone who's tried it. Maybe it's time my employer started doing the same--we buy enough PCs that if we told Micron we wanted 80-conductor cables in all our PCs, they'd probably do it. They've made other concessions to us recently.

I hope the IDE interface is good; this is a Micron PC with an Intel motherboard inside (BX chipset); so we're not talking an Amptron piece-o'-junk here (thankfully, LCMS quit buying those!).

I'll try that and update the site. Thanks.

If the machine is that recent, there's no design flaw in the PIIX (although that specific machine could, of course, have a defective chip or something).

As far as cables, I've never had any problem with the ones supplied with drives. Cable problems with IDE are usually either because the cables have gotten old, been folded, etc. or because someone uses a $2 IDE cable from the on-sale bin. I've seen some really bad aftermarket IDE cables, including one set that was four feet long! It was extraordinary that they even worked (the ATA specification limits length to 18").

I don't know that it's worth it to use UDMA/66 80-wire cables routinely, at least until the price drops somewhat, but they sure should ensure that the cables aren't the problem.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Don Dawson [mailto:dmdawson@erols.com]
Sent: Friday, October 01, 1999 9:33 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: Your 'rejected' WinNT magazine article

I happen to personally agree with you that people often forget to backup the client. I especially like your explanation of the process. I suspect it was rejected because you didn't "sell" any product in your article...all the more reason to like your article.

Thanks.

Thanks for the kind words. That one experience was about enough to turn me off on writing magazine articles permanently.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Rudzki [mailto:rasterho@pacbell.net]
Sent: Friday, October 01, 1999 10:03 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: RE: Legal and moral and ethical can indeed be the same only different...

As far as I know none of the NKVD or Red Army were punished for the murders, in fact they blamed it on the Germans! It wasn't until after the War the truth came out, but then it was too late.

The 6 million is just the number of Jews murdered by the Nazi's, about 14 million was the actual total including 5 million Russian POWs. While I feel the pain of the Jews, 2 million Poles went down the chute as well, counting not just death camps but general war causalities as well.

But I have heard Stalin killed perhaps 20 million from 1928 onward, and let us not forget that champion of The Great Leap Forward, The Great Helmsman himself, Mao Tse-Tung...

Basically wartime combatants 'have' to follow certain rules in treating POWs and civilians in occupied lands, they pounded this into us in Survival School.

If you are shot down you can fight and use lethal force to kill the enemy and avoid capture until you reach friendly forces or get captured by the 'Captor'. Once caught you revert to 'non-combatant' status, just like an occupied civilian.

You can try to escape but cannot use lethal force on a guard or sentry since you become liable for trial on a war-crime and can be legally executed by the Captor.

The Captor is not supposed to mistreat and kill occupied civilians unless they use lethal force and thereby become terrorists or partisans themselves. Then all bets are off...

Now the Captor can kill his own civilians in his country all he wants which is what the Nazi's did to the Jews, and why the Geneva Protocols/Convention did not legally apply to the Nuremberg Trials and the Allies invented all sorts of pretexts to hang Nazi leaders.

Imagine if the Germans had won the Second Great War and put Southerners on trial for lynching Negroes and the US Army for killing Indians, what would you say then?

I think we should just hang all the lawyers...

Well, soldiers have always murdered civilians and POWs. Witness the recent revelations about US soliders murdering hundreds of civilians in that incident in the Korean War. That's always been true and probably always will be. Murder, rape, and pillage have historically been considered to be a fringe benefit for soldiers who risk getting their asses shot off.

I had a good friend who was an US Army infantry seargent in WWII. He landed on D-Day and carried his Thompson gun to Berlin. He said that in the early days they took prisoner any German who offered to surrender, but after the first week or so they started simply shooting captured SS soldiers on the spot. Without exception. And that was understandable after a few incidents where SS "surrendered" and then opened fire on their captors. They did continue to take Wehrmacht prisoners, though. That kind of thing went on routinely on both sides.

And I remember my father, who was a navigator on a B17, talking about the fear that US airmen had of bailing out over Germany. They weren't afraid so much of Wehrmacht soldaten, or even of the SS. Those guys usually allowed them to surrender peaceably. It was the German civilians who terrified them. German civilians commonly lynched US airmen who had bailed out. And I mean lynched literally. They hanged them from trees and lampposts or ran them through with pitchforks. And given what the US airmen were dropping on them every day, I can kind of see their side of it.

It's easy to understand murder done in the heat of battle. What's not easy to understand and is impossible to forgive is murder as a national policy. So, yes, I'd have been happy to personally shoot or hang people who directed or participated in institutionalized murder during the Nazi regime, whether or not what they did was legal under the laws that were in effect at the time.

 


 

 

 

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Sunday, 3 October 1999

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If running chkdsk /f didn't fix the problem on kerby's hard disk, at least I didn't get the fatal error message from Diskeeper this morning. I lost several hours yesterday backing up, running chkdsk, and generally trying to figure out what was wrong. In fairness, this problem isn't something that can be attributed to Diskeeper or even to Windows NT (at least not directly). Because Windows NT takes literally 45 minutes to shut down on this system, I'd gotten into the habit of starting the shut down, waiting a couple of minutes for stuff to flush to disk, and then turning off the power. Certainly Cruel and Unusual punishment in anyone's book.

It's a testament to the robustness of NTFS that more serious problems didn't result. Of course, ultimately the reason I was forced to do this is that Windows NT was taking the better part of an hour to shut down, so the problem really can be laid at NT's doorstep afterall. What I really need is a "shutdown /verbose" option.

Kerby has a 4.3 GB IDE hard disk, which for some reason I'd partitioned into halves. There was nothing much on the second partition, and I'd about decided to use PartitionMagic to make one 4.3 GB partition. I'd even used Disk Administrator to delete the second partition. Fortunately, I came to my senses before I did anything radical. I've got nearly all the pieces for my new main system sitting on the kitchen table, so there's no point to doing radical surgery on kerby right now. There'll be plenty of time for that later, after I have a replacement up and running.

Speaking of the kitchen table, I'd better do something about getting it cleaned up. Fortunately, Barbara has a sense of humor about these things. I still have the side panels for the new IDE test-bed system lying on the bench seat where Barbara sits. She eats breakfast surrounded by boxes of disk drives, processors, a motherboard, etc. That and that monstrous PC Cool full tower.

The IDE test-bed system has been running stably for more than a week now, under Windows 98, Windows NT 4 Workstation, and Windows 2000 Professional RC2. I guess it's safe to put the side panels back on. I'm debating whether or not to change the CPU before I do that, though. The test-bed is running a Celeron/333. I have a Pentium II/450 sitting here, and I'm thinking about trading it out. Of course, I could use that Pentium II/450 to replace the Pentium II/300 in kerby, which'd probably be a better idea. So, no excuse. I'll get the test-bed reassembled. That reminds me that I need to build a new SCSI test-bed system as well.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Farquhar [mailto:farquhar@access2k1.net]
Sent: Saturday, October 02, 1999 1:44 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: Re:

A four-foot IDE cable? Someone needs to be found and beat senseless...

The most recent HD install I did was a Maxtor retail box; I don't know if that cable was just defective or if that particular batch had really low-quality cables, but the drive didn't work and the old drive didn't work either. I tried swapping that cable, and the drive connector stayed in the drive. After I retrieved the connector with a pair of needle-nosed pliers and swapped in a Belkin-brand cable, the drives were fine.

I'm wondering if a good strategy would be to keep a pair of 80-conductor cables on hand, try new configurations with those, and once you know things work, try swapping in an inexpensive 40-conductor cable and see if it still works. Would spending the extra time up front save enough troubleshooting time to be worth it in the long run...?

Probably not routinely, although that may change. A lot of people think that "IDE is IDE" and that's just not true. There's a big difference between a typical IDE/ATAPI device running PIO Mode 4 at 16.6 MB/s and one running DMA Mode 3 at 33.3 MB/s. A cable that works for the first isn't guaranteed to work reliably for the second. And a DMA Mode 4 device running at 66 MB/s is still more demanding, although fortunately DMA Mode 4-capable interfaces and drives automatically detect the presence of a 40-pin/80-wire cable and fall back to DMA/33 if one is not present. But how much longer will it be until cheap, shoddy 80-wire cables become common?

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Bo Leuf [mailto:bo@leuf.com]
Sent: Sunday, October 03, 1999 5:11 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: NT repair disk

Here's a puzzle for anyone to figure out...

When I try to create a repair disk from NT4 these days, I can't, because the process aborts saying that the 1.44 Mb disk is full. All I get is:

A:\config.nt
A:\system._
A:\autoexec.nt
A:\setup.log
A:\sam._
A:\security._
A:\default._
A:\ntuser.da_

and 1.10 Mb free. The missing system._ file, in the system REPAIR folder is currently over 1.3Mb all by itself.

Any ideas? Or does one simply copy it out manually to a second disk?

/ Bo
--
"Bo Leuf" bo@leuf.com
Leuf fc3 Consultancy
http://www.leuf.com/

Dunno. I just ran c:\winnt\system32\Rdisk.exe and got disk with the following:

08/07/98 04:14p 69,986  system._
08/07/98 04:14p 123,718 software._
08/07/98 04:14p 3,214   security._
08/07/98 04:14p 3,230   sam._
08/07/98 04:14p 17,672  default._
08/07/98 04:14p 14,592  ntuser.da_
08/08/96 08:00p 438     autoexec.nt
08/07/98 12:12p 2,510   config.nt
8 File(s) 235,360 bytes
1,159,680 bytes free

My System hive (in \winnt\system32\config) is 1,476 KB. Is it possible that you have a huge system hive? If so, you should probably clean up your registry.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Rudzki [mailto:rasterho@pacbell.net]
Sent: Sunday, October 03, 1999 2:49 AM
To: Robert B. Thompson
Subject: Ananad has gone around the bend this time!

I am feeling flush with success, my local stale news and fishwrapping service AKA The Press-Enterprise not only published my letter to the editor today but a retraction to the article I complained about as well! It doesn't get any better than this, unless a whole team of 7 of 9 clones parachute in and give me a group massage... =8^-)

http://www.transact.org/ca/ was the site I had a cow about, the article was a lot of bushwa about how sad it is children keep getting killed in cross-walks, boo-hoo, etc.

But let us get onto more serious matters, that moron Anand at: is ranting on about the AMD K-7 and how the only 3 current mobos 'available' don't work properly but that's OK since AMD custom built 200+ mobos that will run the K-7 sort of, but will never be sold and were sent to hardware reviewers instead.

AMD's name for the custom will-not-be-sold mobo is: 'Fester"! Give me a break, why not the "Abscess", the "SuckingChestWound" or maybe the "Maggot"?!

Since HP has announced they will no longer buy or install AMD processors in their machines, can the end be near...?

PS: The guy I was thinking of was Peter Singer and he has the Ethics Chair at Princeton and whacking deformed infants is OK by him since they may be worth less than a good healthy dog or cat on the moral scale... I think so too.

Well, I wouldn't call Anand a moron. He is, after all, applying for med school at age 17. But I agree that Anand and other enthusiast sites are giving the K7 a lot more attention than it deserves. At this point, it's really a technology demonstration rather than a real shipping product. Larry Aldridge at PC Power & Cooling tells me that the K7 draws 60 watts! If true, and I have no reason to doubt Larry's statement, that means that all the problems with K7 motherboards aren't surprising. As far as the name of the AMD prototype motherboard, I always assumed it was named for Uncle Fester from the Addams Family. But I could be wrong.

 


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