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Daynotes Journal

Week of 15 November 1999

Sunday, 21 November 1999 09:10

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, 15 November 1999

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Another Monday morning, and it's back to work for me. Malcolm turned seven weeks old last Thursday, and is rapidly approaching the puppy equivalent of the "Terrible Twos". He's starting to assert himself by biting when he's displeased, so Barbara and I keep a newspaper handy to smack his snout with when he bites. And I'm not talking about puppy nips. He's gotten the idea that it's okay to use his teeth on us when we tell him no. They all go through that stage, and it has to be stopped before it can get to be a habit.

He's also developing rapidly physically. Until now, he's been getting around at a pretty good clip, but it's been by "Tiggering", bouncing across the yard like a hobby horse. Now he's starting to run with a normal stride and is much faster than Barbara or me. He's also decided to stop coming when he's called. It's much more fun to run away. Barbara, of course, is petrified that he'll run out in the street and be hit. Putting him on a leash is useless, because he won't do anything while he's on the leash except roll over on his back and fang the leash.

We also have to be careful not to teach him the wrong lessons. The last few days, he'd been trying to eat Duncan's food. Barbara would shout at him and smack the newspaper against her hand to startle him when he stuck his snout in Duncan's bowl. Apparently, Malcolm decided that it was wrong to eat from any bowl, and started refusing to eat from his own bowl as well. We've finally gotten past that one, and he's eating from his own bowl again. We had been having to tip the contents of his bowl onto the floor to get him to eat.

And he's now approaching eight weeks, which is a dangerous time. We've been told that eight weeks is when puppies learn to fear things. Apparently, if something frightens an eight-week-old pup, he'll be afraid of that for the rest of his life. Our twelve-year-old, Kerry, for example, is afraid of ceiling fans, batteries(!), and numerous other strange things. So we want to make sure that nothing frightens Malcolm over the next couple of weeks.

More later. Back to work now.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: James T. Crider [mailto:jim@docjim.com]
Sent: Sunday, November 14, 1999 9:00 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: RE: Prescription Drugs

Some other points about drug resistant bacteria. The reason we have drug-resistant bacteria is because of overuse of antibiotics. What we don't always think about is how ubiquitous these antibiotics are. They are used in raising beef, hogs, and chicken so we expose the bacteria through the animals and when we eat their meat. Think about all the anti-bacterial skin care products and soaps that are on the market today; again we are exposing bacteria to more and more antibiotics. If we treat an infection longer than is necessary to eradicate that infection, as you suggested, then we again expose bacteria to antibiotics unnecessarily. I've done it myself so don't think I am immune to doing it, I just have to be ever vigilant as do we all.

Bacteria have become very efficient in spreading resistance so it is not just harmful bacteria which are the problem. "Good bacteria" like those that live in the intestinal tract of humans and help digest food for them can become resistant to antibiotics through repeated exposure then pass that resistance to other species of bacteria. So far medical science has been unable to prevent this spread of resistance from one species to another. By the way, this spread is through DNA and RNA interchanged between species. Like I said, bacteria have become very efficient and resourceful in passing resistance.

We all have to take responsibility in preventing further development of antibiotic resistant bacteria. The general public has to realize that they don't need antibacterial everything, soap and water is very efficient in killing most germs of all types and bacteria don't become resistant to them. We must also do something about the antibiotics in animal feed. We physicians also have to do a better job in educating patients about when they need antibiotics, how long to take them, and to not share antibiotics with their neighbors especially when the neighbor potentially doesn't need them.

On another subject, I noticed you said you had not seen a physician in twenty-five years and that you are 45 years of age. The physician in me has to ask if you have considered discussing your relative risk for early coronary artery disease with a physician. A simple blood test for lipids and a visit with a physician to discuss that and your personal and family medical history would suffice to see if you are at risk for an early heart attack. I'm not trying to suggest that you are, not knowing anymore about you than what I read in your journal, but if you are there are things that can be done to reduce that risk. Today, we are able to prevent some early heart attacks which we have never been able to do in the past. This is exciting for us who would rather prevent a disease than treat it once it is present.

Jim Crider
Jim@docjim.com
http://www.docjim.com

Thanks. Incidentally, I see you're now maintaining a daily journal page. I've added it to my links page.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: LRMandell@aol.com [mailto:LRMandell@aol.com]
Sent: Sunday, November 14, 1999 10:18 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com; Internet@aol.com
Subject: "Regulations For Hunting Attorneys"

Thought this might give you a chuckle...

"Regulations For Hunting Attorneys"

Bill to Regulate the Hunting and Harvesting of Attorneys PC 370.00

370.01 Any person with a valid in-state rodent or snake hunting license may also hunt and harvest attorneys for recreational and sport (non-commercial) purposes.

370.02 Taking of attorneys with traps or dead- falls is permitted. The use of United States currency as bait, however, is prohibited.

370.03 The willful killing of attorneys with a motor vehicle is prohibited, unless such vehicle is an ambulance being driven in reverse. If an attorney is accidentally struck by a motor vehicle, the dead attorney should be removed to the roadside, and the vehicle should proceed immediately to the nearest car wash.

370.04 It is unlawful to chase, herd or harvest attorneys from a power boat, helicopter or aircraft.

370.05 It is unlawful to shout, "WHIPLASH", "AMBULANCE", or "FREE SCOTCH" for the purposes of trapping attorneys.

370.06 It is unlawful to hunt attorneys within 100 yards of BMW, Mercedes or Porsche dealerships, except on Wednesday afternoon.

370.07 It is unlawful to hunt attorneys within 200 yards of courtrooms, law libraries, health clubs, country clubs, hospitals or brothels.

370.08 If an attorney gains elective office, it is not necessary to have a license to hunt, trap or possess the same.

370.09 It is unlawful for a hunter to wear a disguise as a reporter, accident victim, physician, chiropractor or tax accountant for the purpose of hunting attorneys.

370.10 Bag and Possession Limits per day: Yellow-bellied sidewinders, 2; Two-faced tortfeasors, 1; Back-stabbing divorce litigators, 3; Horn-rimmed cut-throats, 2; Minutiae-advocating dirtbags, 4. Honest attorneys protected (Endangered Species Act).

ARS 8007.21 It is illegal to take attorneys with a moving vehicle unless there are no measurable skid marks at the kill site.

Very nice, thanks, but I think some of the restrictions are excessive, in particular the bag limits. It's not as though attorneys need to be protected.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: ROBERT RUDZKI [mailto:rasterho@pacbell.net]
Sent: Monday, November 15, 1999 1:47 AM
To: Robert B. Thompson
Subject: Sleep times amd anti-biotics

There wqs study some years ago about the normal amount of sleep most people need/get the researcher found if you put people in a cave lab with no daylight references or clocks they sleep 8 hours + or - 15 minutes consitently but time they feel sleeply rotates slowly around the clock until you give them a daylight reference then the body clocks synchronize to the day/night cycle.

do you wake to a clock alarm or just naturally? if you use an alarm you may want to let your internal clocks wake you and see how much time your body thinks it needs...

I find if i don't get at least 8 hours i feel tired and cranky, the first 4 hours is cycled between alpha and delta stages [light and increasingly deep sleep] the second 4 hours is rem sleep where you twitch your nose and move your paws if you are a dog or dream if you are a human. the dream stage is where the brain shuts off all outside input [so much for sleep learning] and dreams are a way it refreshes itself in some mysterious way...

The part tjat scares me about antibiotics is how easily doctors give it to people with viral problems including colds, the main problem is that virusii are not affected by antibiotics but doctors feel they have to give the patient something or else they feel they have not been treated properly...

I haven't used an alarm clock in years. Barbara keeps one on her nightstand, but we usually sleep until the dogs wake us up, which was usually 7:00 to 7:30. Malcolm, unfortunately, is a much earlier riser. Since quotes from Napoleon Bonaparte are popular, I'll leave you with this one: "Six hours for men; seven hours for women; eight hours for idiots."

* * * * *

10:20: Please disregard the notice about pair Networks moving their data center this Wednesday. When I checked their web site this morning, I found that they'd changed the date from 17 November to Monday, 6 December. More evidence of Caesar's Law: No project is ever completed on time or under budget.

Malcolm has turned demonic. Constant barking, yipping, and whining. When I pick him up to comfort him, his head starts spinning in a full circle and he speaks to me in a deep, raspy voice. Probably not a good sign. He's still a sweet puppy when he's asleep, though. Fortunately, that's most of the time. For now at least.

 


 

 

 

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Tuesday, 16 November 1999

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If you have an OnStream tape drive, run don't walk to their web site and download Echo 3.0. It's free, and it's a vast improvement over the 2.x version. I'm running a test backup on odin right now. At the moment, the status indicator tells me that 23,468 files totaling 2,430,056 KB have been backed up, and the average MB/min is now sitting at 51. That's without compression. Given that the native speed of the drive is rated at 60 MB/min, that's doing pretty well, particularly since odin is only a Pentium/200. 

OnStream also appears to have fixed the problems I experienced with very slow backups when backing up huge numbers of small files, as well as adding several useful features, including greatly improved performance when using compression. I haven't tested that yet. While you're there, download the firmware update. I just updated my drive from 1.02 to 1.05. I'm not sure what the firmware fix accomplishes, but OnStream strongly recommends it and it takes only a minute to apply.

In the past, I've recommended the OnStream DI-30 as an excellent solution for Windows 95/98 users. I had problems running Echo under Windows NT 4, but this new version may well fix those. If so, the DI-30 becomes a good solution for Windows NT Workstation and small Windows NT Server machines. Now the only problem is that I have the drive in a machine that doesn't have Windows NT installed on it.

FedEx just showed up with Red Hat Linux 6.1 Professional. That means I either have to build a machine to run it or pick one of the systems that I'd allocated to other purposes. My to-do list is starting to look ridiculous.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck Waggoner [waggoner at gis dot net]
Sent: Monday, November 15, 1999 10:56 AM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Backups

I've wondered a couple of times when you describe your xcopy backup scheme, why you continue to bother with tape? Isn't having files copied to 2 or 3 different drives as safe as having it on a tape medium?

Mainly because I'm a belt-and-suspenders kind of guy when it comes to protecting data. With all of the replication of data around here (I actually have everything on more than two machines), I very seldom actually need to recover from a tape, although I periodically do test restores just to make sure the data is retrievable. Tape has two primary advantages:

First, I can drop the latest backup tape in Barbara's purse or store a copy off-site. I can think of many things that might destroy all local copies of our data--a "bolt-on-copper" lighting strike, a home fire, etc. Having a copy on tape means that I can have my data safely off site. And I don't trust just one tape or one format. I have copies on Travan, DDS-3, and Onstream ADR tapes. That gives me a reasonable chance of being able to restore the data somewhere without having to wait on a new tape drive to arrive.

Second, tape is historical. Not infrequently, I happen to overwrite a good older copy with a bad newer copy. Using network drives for backup is very convenient, but files of the same name overwrite older files. With tape, I always have archived copies available.

I actually go beyond even that. I periodically burn an archive CD of all my current stuff. I can't fit all of my data on a CD (it's up to about 5 GB now), but I can get the most important recent stuff. That way, I can access it if necessary from any system that has a CD-ROM drive.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Dan Bowman [mailto:DanBowman@worldnet.att.net]
Sent: Monday, November 15, 1999 11:45 PM
To: 'RBT'
Cc: 'Jim Crider'
Subject: Well, I was going to let you off easy

But, when the old Arkansas country doctor (in my best Bones McCoy accent) threw his comments in...

...the other health care professional in the group just had to chime in:

http://learning_center.home.att.net/Health/ 

I'd clipped this a few weeks back just for the fun of it; I enjoyed the memory twitch. Of course, I believe I have four or five years on you so you may not remember these...

To your health <g>,

Hmm. I've tried the site a couple of times, but when I click on the link on the first page I just get another page with an image that's a broken link.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: David L. Griffin [mailto:david1griffin@yahoo.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 1999 11:06 AM
To: Vicky Bower; Robert Bruce; Adam Ford; Dan Ford; Greg Ford; David G Griffin
Subject:

1999 Darwin Awards

It's that time of year again!! Latest Darwin Award nominees: (the Darwin award, for those not familiar, are for those individuals who contribute to the survival of the fittest by eliminating themselves from the gene pool before they have a chance to breed).

A young Canadian man, searching for a way of getting drunk cheaply because he had no money to buy alcohol, mixed gasoline with milk Not surprisingly, this concoction made him ill, and he vomited into the fireplace in his house. The resulting explosion and fire burned his house down, killing both him and his sister.

A 34 yr. old white male found dead in the basement of his home died of suffocation, police said. He was approximately 6' 2" and 225 lb. He was wearing a pleated skirt, white bra, black and white, saddle shoes, and a woman's wig. It appeared that he was trying to create a schoolgirl's uniform look. He was also wearing a military gas mask that had the filter canister removed and a rubber hose attached in its place. The other end of the hose was connected to a hollow wooden section of a bedpost approximately 12 inches long and 3 inches in diameter. This bedpost was inserted into his rear end for reasons unknown, and was the cause of his suffocation. Police found the task of explaining the circumstances of his death to his family members very awkward.

Three Brazilian men were flying in a light aircraft at low altitude when another plane approached. It appears they decided to "moon" the occupants of the other plane, but lost control of the plane and crashed. They were all found dead in the wreckage with their pants around their ankles.

A police officer in Ohio responded to a call that was made to 911. She had no details before arriving except that someone was reporting that his father was not breathing. Upon arrival, the officer found the man face down on the couch, naked. When she rolled him over to check for a pulse and to start CPR if necessary, she noticed burn marks around his genitals. After the ambulance arrived and removed the man (who turned out to be dead on arrival at hospital), the police made a closer inspection of the couch, and noticed that the man had made a hole between the cushions. Upon flipping the couch over they discovered what caused his death. Apparently the man had a habit of putting his penis between the cushions, down into the hole and between two electric sanders (with the sandpaper removed for obviou reasons). According to the story, after his orgasm the... ahem... discharge shorted out one of the sanders, electrocuting him to death.

LOS ANGELES - Police officials would not release the name of a Pacoima man who was found dead yesterday after responding to complaints from neighbours that a bad smell was coming from his apartment. Upon entering the apartment, officers were surprised to see that every square inch of the apartment, including appliances and even the inside of the toilet, were covered with pornographic images cut from magazines. "The visual effect was very unsettling," said Officer Hradj of the Pacoima Police. "Because everything looked the same, you could not tell where one wall ended and a doorway began." The surprises did not end there, however. Police described the man as having "concocted a wire frame around his head" upon which he had taped various pornographic images, apparently so he could freely move about his apartment without ever losing his close-up view of nude bodies. Small slits had been cut into the paper so he could find his way, but according to Hradj, "He had almost no peripheral vision. He could barely see a thing." The man was found nude with this wire frame entangled in a hanging lamp. "We think he had been dusting," said another police officer, "because a feather duster was lying nearby, and his head gear had somehow become caught in the lamp, which was chained to the ceiling." The man allegedly choked to death trying to extricate himself from his predicament. According to his apartment manager, the white male in his mid-30's never left his apartment, and had food delivered weekly. Funeral services are planned for next week. His next of kin requested that his name be withheld.

A 27 year-old French woman lost control over her car on a highway near Marseilles and crashed into a tree, seriously injuring her passenger and killing her. As a commonplace road accident, this would not have qualified for a Darwin nomination were it not for the fact that the driver's attention had been distracted by her Tamagotchi key ring, which had started urgently beeping for food as she drove along. In attempting to press the correct buttons to save the Tamagotchi's life, the woman lost her own.

A 22-year-old Reston man was found dead yesterday after he tried to use occy straps (the stretchy little ropes with hooks on each end) to bungee jump off a 70-foot railroad trestle, police said. Fairfax County police said Eric A. Barcia, a fast-food worker, taped a bunch of these straps together, wrapped an end around one foot, anchored the other end to the trestle at Lake Accotink Park, jumped...and hit the pavement. Warren Carmichael, a police spokesman, said investigators think Barcia was alone because his car was found nearby. "The length of the cord that he had assembled was greater than the distance between the trestle and the ground" Carmichael said. Police say the apparent cause of death was "major trauma." An autopsy is scheduled for later in the week.

A man in Alabama died from rattlesnake bites. Big deal you may say, but there's a twist here that makes him a candidate. It seems he and a friend were playing catch with a rattlesnake. You can guess what happened from here. The friend (a future Darwin Awards candidate) was hospitalized.

Several years ago, in a west Texas town, employees in a medium-sized warehouse noticed the smell of a gas leak. Sensibly, management evacuated the building, extinguishing all potential sources of ignition - lights, power, etc. After the building had bee evacuated, two technicians from the gas company were dispatched. Upon entering the building, they found they had difficulty navigating in the dark. To their frustration, none of the lights worked. Witnesses later described the vision of one of the technicians reaching into his pocket, and retrieving an object that resembled a lighter. Upon operation of the lighter-like object, the gas in the warehouse exploded, sending pieces of it up to three miles away. Nothing was found of the technicians, but the lighter was virtually untouched by the explosion. The technician that was suspected of causing the explosion had never been thought of as "bright" by his peers

=====
WEB Site: http://www.cableaz.com/users/dgriffin 

Thanks. I have some nominations that I'd like to make myself. My favorite was the terrorist who constructed a letter bomb, mailed it with inadequate postage, and, when the package was returned for additional postage, forgot what he'd done and opened the package.

 


 

 

 

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Wednesday, 17 November 1999

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My test backup yesterday with OnStream Echo 3.0 completed, with 36,806 files copied, totaling 5,673,821 KB at an indicated average throughput of 54 MB/min. The backup started at 12:37:08 and completed at 14:24:13, for a total elapsed time of 1:47:05. Echo 3.0 is indeed a worthwhile upgrade. 

Brian Bilbrey comments on his site that 1% to 2% of his hits are from Opera, and that others have hit rates as high as 3% for Opera. That motivated me to go back and look at my stats for the full month of October. My report lists browsers two ways: (a) the top 20 browsers by name only (e.g. all versions of IE on one line), and (b) the top forty browsers by name, version, and operating system (e.g. IE 4.01, Windows 95), along with the number of hits by each. Opera doesn't show up by name on either list, so any hits by Opera must fall into the "other" category. Dividing out the numbers on the detailed list tells me that Opera cannot account for more than 0.2% of the hits on my site; doing so for the summary list tells me that Opera can't account for more than 0.03% of the hits on my site. Either way, apparently not many of my readers are using Opera.

Barbara and I noticed a Time-Warner truck stringing cable on our street yesterday. Then I got email from Steve Tucker last night, saying that Time-Warner was rolling out cable modem service next month. I'm not sure whether I'll sign up for it. I really want ADSL. TW is charging $150 setup, which includes installing a new cable jack and an Ethernet card. If you don't need the Ethernet card, setup costs $116. They're running a $100 installation special for December, which includes the card, but it's not clear if they'll discount the $116 setup to $66 for those who don't need a card.

What really concerns me is their obnoxious policies. For example, they want you to pay $10/month more for each additional computer you want to connect. Of course, if you connect the TW cable modem to a multi-homed proxy server, you technically have only one computer connected to their network. All the others are connected to a completely separate physical and logical network. The way they get around that is in their specified hardware requirements, "Windows 95/98 NT for Workstation 4.0 installed on a non-netowrked computer" (sic). None of my computers are netowrked, whatever that may be, so I guess I'm safe.

Of more concern is the size of their pipe. They never make it really clear, but reading between the lines tells me that they're planning to have only a 27 Mb/s connection to the Internet. That's only a bit more than half of a DS3. That's not much of a pipe to support all of Winston-Salem. And it may be worse than that, because they never say that that 27 Mb/s pipe is dedicated to just Winston-Salem. TW also provides cable service in surrounding cities and counties, including Greensboro and High Point. All told, TW may have a metro area greater than 1,000,000 all trying to share a little bitty 27 Mb/s pipe. Their explanation of speed is also disingenuous, to say the least.

4. How fast is Road Runner?

Road Runner can deliver up to 2 megabits per second (mbps) to a computer through the 10base T Ethernet interface. A number of factors determine the speed of the data as it goes from the cable company's servers to the customer's computer. The cable modem delivers up to 27 mbps over the network, but the device with the slowest throughput along this path determines the effective speed. Typically, this is the PC bus and/or video display at the user's computer station. 

The upstream bandwidth (from the PC to the system) is up to 384 kilobits per second (kbps). Because users require far more bandwidth downstream (reading Web pages, downloading files, etc.) than upstream (largely "mouse clicks" and file requests), the two directions can differ in bandwidth.

The 2 Mb/s downstream rate is substantially lower than that provided by many cable systems. On the flip side, they're throttling upstream data rates at 384 Kb/s, substantially higher than the 128 Kb/s upstream rates provided by most cable systems nowadays. 

And isn't that a sanctimonious explanation of bandwidth constraints? How likely is it that your "PC bus and/or video display" are the problem? No mention of the fact that there'll be thousands of other users contending for bandwidth on that little bitty 27 Mb/s pipe. Let's see. When 10,000 kids get home from school and start sucking down MP3's, that drops the average available bandwidth to 27,000,000/10,000, or 2,700 bps. TW does say that they'll add bandwidth as needed, but the definition of "needed" is apparently at their sole discretion.

Steve is checking into ADSL again. There's no reason why we shouldn't both have ADSL today. We each live less than half a mile from a newly-installed SLC, and perhaps a mile from Wake Forest University. TW's rollout of cable modems should motivate BellSouth to get on the stick with ADSL. We'll see. At $40/month, cable modem service is a wash with what I pay now--about $20/month for the phone line and $20/month to BellSouth. I just hate the idea of paying TW for installation and then finding out in a month that BellSouth is offering ADSL.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Dan Bowman [mailto:DanBowman@worldnet.att.net]
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 1999 1:44 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Cc: 'Jim Crider'
Subject: RE: Well, I was going to let you off easy

Okay, all better now.

I serve up pages locally with Apache (Win32) and things resolved just fine. Of course they would, that was a local link.

Enjoy some nostalgia,

It works now, thanks. Not only do I recognize the object. I think I probably still have a couple of them around. Come to that, I think I still have a few 8-track tapes around.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: ROBERT RUDZKI [mailto:rasterho@pacbell.net]
Sent: Wednesday, November 17, 1999 12:15 AM
To: Robert Bruce Thompson
Subject: Darwin awards or more urban legends?

I love dearly love the Darwin Awards as well, but I detect something is a little off in a couple of the stories:

Pacoima, CA is a dirty little suburb of Los Angeles in the bad part of the San Fernando Valley and is patrolled by LAPD there is no 'Pacoima Police Department'. It is also the kind of low-income neighborhood where the police are almost never called by the residents even for serious stuff like shootings and dead bodies in the alley since nearly everyone there has various reasons to fear police contact... Even those without criminal records fear being seen talking to police because the boyz in the 'hood will be by to ask what you said to the cops after the police car leaves.

You might ask Pournelle about the place, it is less than 10 miles from his house although I doubt he spends much time driving around THAT area... =8^-)

The Texas warehouse story has several suspect areas, warehouses typically are large, no walls with very open spaces with 35' high ceilings. For enough [odorized] LP or natural gas to have filled the place so people on the floor could smell it would have been one horrendous leak and where would it come from?

The natural gas would have been run to individual ceiling mount heaters if they had any heat at all and why bother to heat a warehouse as far south as West Texas? Plus the fact that methane is lighter than air and tends to rise so the explosive gas layer builds from the 35' ceiling on down.

Since now the whole building is being evacuated and people happily snapping off sparking light switches as they skip out the door [and why didn't the whole place blow then?] how was any one one of the witnesses close or stupid enough to view the supposed behavior of the gas company technicians? Most warehouses I have been in recently seem not to have windows, only the front office does.

Why wouldn't the lights work? Did management go to the main breaker panel and throw the mains off as well in a critical gas leak evacuation? Did the warehouse not have skylights as most do these last 25 years? Or was it nighttime and the evacuating employees just felt their way along the Dexeon racks AFTER they turned all the lights off?

Pieces of the warehouse blown 'up to 3 miles' away? Even munitions dumps rarely blow pieces that far and they have far more powerful explosives involved.

It would seem to me if you had a report of a gas leak at a warehouse, you would tell everybody to leave quietly by the nearest exit, leave the doors or windows propped open, don't touch any electrical devices or switches, just go home.

The gas company crew then would shut off the external gas valve and just let the place sit for a few hours, perhaps squirt a bunch of Stabilant 22 on the rollers and raceways of the overhead rollup doors and manually winch them open s-l-o-w-l-y so as not to spark... =8^-)

I spent several years in Texas so I can attest that most of the civilians I met tended to be a little slow, but utility and emergency crews seem to be well-trained in most places except Columbine, CO and Kobe, Japan.

Robert Rudzki
rasterho@pacbell.net

home.pacbell.net/rasterho
"If we succeed in banning cheap unreliable handguns, does it mean that thugs will now use expensive and highly dependable handguns to rob and kill us...?"

I'll take your word for it. As far as your tag line, I suppose I should point out that criminals are unlikely to purchase inexpensive pistols and revolvers, or indeed legitimately to purchase weapons of any sort. They purchase stolen weapons on the street, and most criminals look with disdain on cheap ones. Most legitimately-purchased inexpensive pistols and revolvers are bought by the working poor for self-defense, so banning them simply disarms honest people who live and work in dangerous places.

 


 

 

 

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Thursday, 18 November 1999

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Steve Tucker checked with Time-Warner and found that he's not in the area for which cable modem service will become available next month. Apparently, his home is on the Rural Hall node rather than the Winston-Salem node, although he lives in Winston-Salem. Supposedly, it'll be mid-2000 before he can get cable-modem service. Our houses are only half a mile or so apart, so it's likely that I can't get cable modem service next month either.

Malcolm is going through the obnoxious puppy stage, pushing the limits. Both big dogs, particularly Duncan, are not amused. I think there's some sort of instinctive behavior constraints on the big dogs. They've been letting Malcolm get away with a lot because he's such a little guy. But as he gets bigger, they start to enforce more rules on him. Periodically now, I'll hear a loud snarl followed by yelps of pain and terror from Malcolm. Duncan doesn't actually hurt him (although he drew a little blood yesterday), but he lets Malcolm know in no uncertain terms that he's displeased.

This morning, we had a set-to over rawhide chewies. For the last several days, Duncan has been finishing his and then going over and taking Malcolm's away from him. This morning, apparently Malcolm took exception to that, and some snarling ensued. Barbara and I ran in the bedroom to see what was going on. I picked up Malcolm and put him up on the bed, sitting there myself to comfort Malcolm. Duncan came over to see me, and Malcolm ran across the bed and made fangish motions at Duncan's snout. Duncan bared his fangs, but Malcolm lunged at his snout again. Duncan levitated up on to the bed and went after Malcolm big time, with repeated lunges, fang snapping, and snarling. Malcolm started squealing in terror. Although he was speaking puppyish, I could translate easily. "I'm going to die." Malcolm turns eight weeks old today.

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-----Original Message-----
From: MIKE_BEEBE@HP-MountainView-om1.om.hp.com
[mailto:MIKE_BEEBE@HP-MountainView-om1.om.hp.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 17, 1999 2:00 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: Linux and Wingate

Robert,

I was reading your web-page in hopes of finding an answer to this question:

"How do I get Redhat 5.2 to communicate with the outside internet via a '98 box running Wingate 3.x?" The '98 is a gateway machine to the Internet via DSL for two other '98 machines (both of which can access the Internet perfectly fine through the Wingate machine), but the Redhat machine never sees beyond the Wingate machine.

Any hints or suggestions you could offer me (if you've gotten this to work yourself)?

Thanks for any help you can offer,

Mike Beebe
Not representing the Hewlett-Packard Company

Good question. I have no idea. Perhaps one of my readers does. Obviously WinGate is working properly, so it may simply be that you don't have your Linux applications configured properly to use a proxy server.

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-----Original Message-----
From: David Silvis [mailto:HUPPNUT@aol.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 17, 1999 2:58 PM
To: AEMPTS@aol.com
Subject: Fwd: jokes

Too true.

The LAPD, The FBI, and the CIA are all trying to prove that they are the best at apprehending criminals. The President decides to give them a test. He releases a rabbit into a forest and each of them has to catch it.

The CIA goes in. They place animal informants throughout the forest. They question all plant and mineral witnesses. After three months of extensive investigations they conclude that rabbits do not exist.

The FBI goes in. After two weeks with no leads they burn the forest, killing everything in it, including the rabbit, and they make no apologies. The rabbit had it coming.

The LAPD goes in. They come out two hours later with a badly beaten bear. The bear is yelling: "Okay! Okay! I'm a rabbit! I'm a rabbit!

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-----Original Message-----
From: Dan Seto [mailto:mail@seto.org]
Sent: Wednesday, November 17, 1999 3:45 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: ADSL vs. Cable Modem

I am glad to see that you may be able to get ADSL at some point. What startles me the most is the low price. Out here in the middle of the Pacific (Hawai'i) we have to pay GTE at least $35/month for 64K up and 256K down. Then, on top of that, you have to pay another $45/month or so to your ISP. Then to top it off, there is also a maximum average usage of 4GB/month. Cable modem access, on the other hand costs about $40/month, total.

The difference between cable modem (read Road Runner) and ADSL is therefore substantial. And since no one else, other than GTE, is offering ADSL here, it's a "take it or leave it proposition." Hence, things will probably not get any better soon, cost wise. To me, this is what killed ISDN here. And I fear, this is what will kill also ADSL. Down with telco and cable company monopolies!

By the way, thanks for the link on your listing of people with "Daynotes" type pages. I did not know it was there until I was checking my domain logs and saw a referral from there. Much appreciated.

Aloha,

Dan
http://seto.org/current.html
mailto:mail@seto.org

Well, an awful lot depends on where you live. Some places, xDSL service is cheap and cable-modem service expensive, and others are exactly the converse. The last time I checked, I believe BellSouth was offering unmetered xDSL for $50/month, versus $40/month here for cable modem service. You're welcome for the link.

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-----Original Message-----
From: ROBERT RUDZKI [mailto:rasterho@pacbell.net]
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 1999 12:45 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: Poor people with guns feed the illegal market mostly unintentionally...

Well, here in California felons and other prohibited categories of people account for about one half of one per cent of attempted gun store purchases most of which are blocked by the State but no one is subsequently arrested for the buy attempt. I am sure they just stop trying to get a gun and get a job instead... =8^-)

It is true that among the more sophisticated gang-bangers the S&W, the Colt and the Glock are considered status symbols, but the 'throwaway factor' is also at work. If you just smoked some homeboys from the other gang and the cops are hitting the streets hard to make an arrest, a cheap gun is much easier to discard.

But my original point stands, if we do ban all cheap guns from being produced and sold in this country eventually the existing street stock will be confiscated and destroyed by the police and then the high quality guns will become much more in demand and in 20 years all the thugs will have high quality weapons making the danger to us and the cops far more acute.

I will concede the vast majority of cheap handguns are legitimately bought [the first time!] by the scared working poor living in bad neighborhoods, but they are much more at risk of being burglarized and losing the gun to a thug who doesn't have to be at work or in school and therefore has lots of time in the day to do crimes. Plus living in bad neighborhoods, your kids may bring home other kids to visit who then steal the gun and anything else small when their host is distracted.

Overtime I sold a Lorcin or a Bryco to someone, I would tell the other gun store clerks I just saved another cop's life since they malfunctioned frequently the first time they were fired. Most of them felt the same way, but they would simply walk away from the cheap gun counter when a minority person was trying to get their attention to look at a Lorcin or Bryco pistol. Very few white people would stop at this counter they always seemed to head for 'higher priced spreads'...

For most of us breaking $3000 in retail sales in a day was good money, but it is really tough to make it selling guns that retail for $79! Not that it really mattered, we were paid just above minimum hourly wage, no commissions or bonuses.

Because I felt any customer was worth talking to the first time, I ended up handling most of those sales as much as I hated the cheap guns. The people who were sincere and older I steered towards our police trade-in revolvers if I thought they wanted a gun for legitimate reasons rather than sell them a piece of junk made of pot metal. The ones who acted a little hinckey, I just sold them the junk gun and likely as not the State DoJ sent us a letter banning the sale 2 weeks later, and we kept the fees and the minimum deposit [and the gun!]. We had a 15 day waiting period then to give the State time to block the sale after a crime records check, it's down to 10 days now.

I am all for selling cheap defective handguns for the same reason I am against needle-exchange programs for junkies and educating ghetto residents about safe sex and AIDS, they are solutions to problems that are trying to solve themselves...

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-----Original Message-----
From: ROBERT RUDZKI [mailto:rasterho@pacbell.net]
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 1999 2:18 AM
To: Robert Bruce Thompson
Subject: IUD's and median values

That little 3-lobed red icon is some type of IUD, right?

The MEDIAN function in Excel 97 for 33.3 and 78 = 55.66 What are these doctors trying to tell us? That they can't do simple math?

I hope they talk to their stock brokers more clearly than that, let's forget the wrong diagnosis and fatal mis-prescribed drug issues entirely!

The clowns in the white coats kill 80,000+ people needlessly in US hospitals alone, twice what our drunk drivers do on the road and the drunk needs very little training and cannot afford a Mercedes unless he is Kelsey Grammar or John Hopkins...

Robert Rudzki
rasterho@pacbell.net
home.pacbell.net/rasterho
"If we succeed in banning cheap unreliable handguns, does it mean that thugs will now use expensive and highly dependable handguns to rob and kill us...?"

And here I thought that little red thing was an adapter to allow playing a 45 RPM single on a regular turntable.

* * * * *

13:15: I just spent an hour or so checking out cable modem and xDSL service again. It turns out that I won't be able to get cable modem service from Time-Warner until "mid-2000" because I'm on the Rural Hall node like Steve Tucker. BellSouth is rolling out xDSL here in Winston-Salem, but none of my lines "pre-qualify". They have no idea when the service will be available in my area. One thing did concern me. Right now, BellSouth is running a promo whereby they waive the $200 installation charge and the $100 line setup charge, and discount the cable modem to $100. That's available to anyone who orders before year-end. They won't let me order until the service is available in my area, so I asked them about the promo. The representative assures me that a similar deal will be available when they finally get around to rolling out xDSL in my area. No word on when that might be, though.

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-----Original Message-----
From: Brian Bilbrey [mailto:bilbrey@pacbell.net]
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 1999 12:43 PM
To: MIKE_BEEBE@HP-MountainView-om1.om.hp.com; bilbrey@orbdesigns.comwebmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Windows, Redhat and Wingate...

Hi, Mike -

Saw your query on Bob Thompson's site...

I was using Wingate at home, to proxy for my wife's win98 box. I have since converted to using Linux as the gateway box... at no cost. One of the reasons for this is that you need to have a wingate client to find the active server (at least on the windows client boxen). I am looking now at the wingate site, attempting to see if they support what you are asking about... they appear to be ignoring Linux...

Here's a couple of things to try, other than writing to the tech support people at deerfield... note the IP address of the box you use to host the Wingate server. use that information as the gateway ip when you set up your networking using netconf (netcfg if you are using X, I think) and/or linuxconf. In your browser (I use netscape), set the connection type to proxy server, and use the same IP there, though you may need to muck with other details as well...

regards,
Brian Bilbrey
bilbrey@pacbell.net
http://www.OrbDesigns.com
brian@orbdesigns.com

Thanks. I note, however, that I'm running WinGate successfully on various clients without installing the WinGate client software. It's simply a matter of telling IE, for example, that I'm using a proxy server and pointing it to the correct address and port numbers.

 


 

 

 

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Friday, 19 November 1999

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Our friends Sue and Robin came over for dinner last night. Sue is also our veterinarian, and it never ceases to amaze me that the dogs great her as a long-lost friend whenever she comes over. They know who she is, but they don't seem to hold her alternate persona against her in a social setting. They loved Malcolm, even though they're both cat people. He spent the evening fanging them joyfully and looking cute.

Malcolm is actually a prodigy, even among Border Collies. He was nearly house trained the first day we brought him home, when he was less than six weeks old. He still has accidents occasionally, but those are probably more our fault than his. We've been putting up a baby gate at our bedroom door at night, to restrict Malcolm to our bedroom. Last night, an hour or so after we went to bed, Barbara had gone to sleep and I was still reading. Malcolm went over to the baby gate and started whining and yipping. Barbara and I just looked at each other. Surely he wasn't old enough yet to be asking so explicitly to go out. 

But he sure seemed to want out, and had been pestering for several minutes, so I went over and opened the baby gate. He rushed down the hall toward the front foyer. He only got about half way down the hall before he stopped, did his usual two or three spins, and had an accident on the floor. I picked up the results with toilet paper, dumped them in the toilet in the hall bathroom, and flushed them. We praised Malcolm for being a good dog and resolved to let him out quickly the next time he asked. That happened a little while later. Before we could get him out, he started spinning around and did it (nearly) on the puppy pad. So at this point, I conclude that Malcolm is 100% house trained, at least insofar as having good intentions. He asks to go out, but, at eight weeks old yesterday, he's not yet old enough to be physically developed enough to hold it for more than a couple of minutes after he realizes that he has to go.

There's a sequel to this, too. When I awoke this morning before dawn, I wandered down the hall and stopped in the hall bathroom, not bothering to turn on the light. By the time I was in college, women had trained me to sit for all purposes. I actually lost one girlfriend after she sat for the third time on a toilet with the lid up. Or maybe it was the fourth. So I sat, in the dark. But I'd forgotten to lower the seat after cleaning up the first accident. Now I understand why women get so upset at guys who leave the seat up.

This morning was fun. I climbed up on the roof to blow out the gutters, I hope for the last time this year, and to put covers on the roof vents. I then blew some of the leaves out of our yard and our next-door neighbor's yard. Hazel is about 85 years old, widowed, disabled, and on Social Security. She really needs to be in an assisted-living home. She certainly can't afford to pay people to keep up her house and yard. Barbara and I may have to start doing some stuff for her in self-defense. Her niece comes over frequently to help her, but the house is owned by her son. We don't see him from one year to the next. Not a good situation.

Tomorrow Barbara and I are going to Rebecca and Patrick Shouse's farm for a meeting of Carolina Border Collie Rescue. We'll take Duncan along so that he'll have a chance to run with all the other BCs, herd some sheep, and so on. Kerry has to stay home. He's too old, too frail, and too dominant to risk taking along. He may get into it with a younger dog, and he simply can't defend himself. Malcolm will stay home, too. Sue tells us that we should keep him isolated until he's 16 weeks old, after the inoculations against parvo virus have had a chance to take full effect. Parvo is a puppy killer, and we don't want to take any chances at all. CBCR will be electing new board members, officers, and so on. I hope Barbara doesn't end up one of them.

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-----Original Message-----
From: J.H. Ricketson [mailto:culam@neteze.com]
Sent: Thursday, November 18, 1999 4:19 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: Waiting for DSL

Dear Bob,

Your comments about Cable now or waiting for DSL echo my sentiments to a T. My take on it is, "If you liked CableTV's customer service Attitude, you'll Love their CableNet Attitude." I didn't. Haven't had cable for over ten years - and don't miss it at all.

I'll wait for DSL. The FCC's decision may speed that wait a bit, now that the LECs are going to have to admit the CLECs. Should affect pricing positively, too. What I'm really looking forward to is a good, competitive satellite or wireless system to become widely available. IMO, the available satellite offering doesn't do it. But that day will come.

Got a new toy yesterday - a Microsoft Intellimouse with optical sensing (no ball). It works. Smoothly, effortlessly, and beautifully. No skips. No more balls to clean - ever - and a 5-year guarantee (from my experience, I expect it will outlast that). As Jerry P. would say - "Highly recommended."

Now if they could only cut its tail off and replace it with a Bluetooth connection, it would be the Ultimate Rodent - King of the Hill. (But then - I'd probably lose it in the mess on my desktop.)

Regards,

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

There was just something in our paper about that this morning. Right now, BellSouth has a monopoly on xDSL here, but there are competitors clamoring to be allowed to provide xDSL on BellSouth lines. BellSouth is arguing now that, although BellSouth can provide xDSL and voice on the same pair, it's not safe to allow competitors to do so. That means they'll force competitors to have anyone who wants their service to have a separate line installed. Seems to me that if BellSouth is really so concerned about protecting my interests, they should just warn me that putting voice and xDSL from a competitor on the same line may cause problems and let me decide if I want to take that risk.

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-----Original Message-----
From: ROBERT RUDZKI [mailto:rasterho@pacbell.net]
Sent: Friday, November 19, 1999 3:14 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: RE: IUD's and median values

My point was that the median of 33.3 and 78 is not 45 but 55.66...

If overpaid doctors want to get cute they should do the math IMO.

Why is it called a single when it has 2 sides?

Do you still own a turntable this late in the game? I dumped mine and all the LP's more than 10 years ago, I love the 'harsh' sound of digital on cd's...

I also use Wingate 3.0.5 on NT 4.0 SP6 but use the proxy settings instead of the Wingate client on the clients they work fine and seem to be faster...

Actually, you're wrong about the median of 33.3 and 78. There is no median. A median requires a minimum of three ranked values. For example, the median of 33.3, 45, and 78 is 45. The median of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 1,048,576 is 3. The mean (or arithmetic average) of the two values you mention is 55.65 (not 55.66).

No, I don't have a turntable. Haven't had for years. But I think I still have a few of the 45 adapters around somewhere. Perhaps I have a tin ear, but I've never been able to hear the alleged "warmth" of vinyl versus CDs. I used to have an audiophile friend who had spent probably literally $100,000 on audio equipment. His speakers, for example, were studio monitors that he said cost $30,000 a pair. He was one of those guys who claimed that vinyl had superior sound, but I sure couldn't hear it, even on his top-end system. I thought the CD version sounded better.

I've never noticed any speed difference between using the WinGate client and just configuring apps manually to use the proxy server, but then I wasn't really looking.

 


 

 

 

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Saturday, 20 November 1999

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Arrrrgh. I ran a full network backup on the Tecmar DDS-3 tape drive yesterday afternoon. There were 120,523 files totaling 16,636,063,708 bytes. After backing up 112,790 files totaling 15,207,929,159 bytes, BackupExec prompted me to insert another tape. This tape drive is rated at 12/24 GB, which means that I only got about 1.27:1 compression, which is really not surprising given how many .zip, .wav, .mp3 and other uncompressible files I have on my drives.

We're preparing for the Carolina Border Collie Rescue get-together, which will be an all-day event. I just put the Olympus NiMH batteries on the charger to get a full charge for the day. These things aren't supposed to have any memory effect, and I really hope that's true. Every time I put a partially discharged set on the charger, I worry that I'm damaging them, as is the case with NiCd batteries. I'll have the chance to give this new 32 MB SmartMedia card a workout today. Barbara wants to take pictures of all the rescue BCs to put up on the web site.

I need to take a shower and get ready to go, so that's it for today.

 


 

 

 

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Sunday, 21 November 1999

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We had a full day yesterday at Patrick and Rebecca Shouse's farm, where Carolina Border Collie Rescue held a get-together. There were probably 40 people there, and many, many Border Collies. One woman brought ten of her BCs, leaving fifteen others at home. We only brought one of ours. Kerry is too old, and Malcolm too young, so Duncan had to represent his pack. Here's just one corner of the field. At times, the whole field looked like this. We think that's Duncan standing by the orange cone, but we're not entirely sure.

bc-flock.jpg (84798 bytes)

If sheep have nightmares, they must be about being in a field with literally dozens of Border Collies. "Border Collies to the left of 'em. Border Collies to the right of 'em. Into the Valley of Death rode the six hundred." Late in the afternoon, they cordoned off some sheep in a pen and sent in the Border Collies one by one to see how they'd do. Duncan had only seen sheep once before, but he acquitted himself pretty well for a novice. If the sheep knew he was a beginner, they showed no sign. To them he was just another wolf. Whenever they tried to make a break for it, he circled round and brought them back into a tight cluster. I did manage to get a few photos of Duncan working the sheep.

duncan-herding.jpg (103295 bytes)

duncan-herding2.jpg (102091 bytes)

 

Plenty of mail, but I'm too beat to post it. More next week.


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Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 by Robert Bruce Thompson. All Rights Reserved.