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Daynotes Journal

Week of 22 November 1999

Sunday, 28 November 1999 11:13

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, 22 November 1999

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I can't believe it's already Thanksgiving week. Barbara's parents and sister are coming here for Thanksgiving this year, and Barbara tells me that she'll need both the kitchen table and the dining room table. What's a writer to do? Right now, the kitchen table is serving as an impromptu photo studio, complete with an old table cloth as a backdrop. 

kitchen-table-studio.jpg (32266 bytes)

I must say that Barbara has a very good sense of humor about my proclivity for spreading my work all over the place, but she tells me I have to have my stuff out of the kitchen no later than Wednesday evening. Fair enough. But then Christmas follows rapidly, and Barbara will be doing her usual decorating. I'll be hard-pressed to find somewhere to work. I considered evicting my mother from her downstairs apartment, but putting her in a tent in the back yard would get me talked about.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: J.H. Ricketson [mailto:culam@neteze.com]
Sent: Friday, November 19, 1999 2:17 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: RE: Waiting for DSL

Big risk, IMO. Consider: a busy BellSouth lineperson, working on the lines upstream from you, desperately needs another line. Time is 16:45. Your line gets MUXed, and your effective transfer rate is now ~9600. BellSouth: "Sorry about that, Jack. These are the risks you take with that outfit." Recourse? None, of course. BellSouth still owns the copper. Plus I personally trust ANY Telco about like I'd trust a guy named Doc in a poker game. The FCC, IMO, does the best it can - but the Telcos still own the state regulatory bodies, where the real regulation takes place. Not a pretty picture for the consumer in any way dependent on Telco copper. And Cable, in its area, is less regulated and even more blatantly greedy.

I still have my hopes set on LEO Satellite or wireless or a combination thereof. The market is there, and they could make a bundle while still providing service far superior to Telco or Cable. The technology is (almost) there. The main barrier seems to be the uplink problem - you still need a conventional ISP to uplink to the satellite to obtain the fast broadband downlink capabilities (DirecPC, for instance.) It's not rocket science though. With the rapid advances being made in wireless telecom, I expect to see this barrier broken soon. After that, the usual red tape with the FCC for bandwidth allocation, etc. ad nauseum - then maybe we'll have something that puts the Telcos out of the data comm business - and deservedly so, IMO.

Perhaps. But telcos are pretty good at managing cables. I'm not as optimistic about wireless services as you are. Bandwidth, security, and interference are always issues with wireless, and I suspect they'll continue to be.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: ROBERT RUDZKI [mailto:rasterho@pacbell.net]
Sent: Saturday, November 20, 1999 1:58 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: Bob you are right and I am wrong.

Well, I went to the Expert Authority around here, my wife Taylor, and she said you need an odd number of values to do a median function properly at least 3 and when I plug your numbers of 33.3, 45 and 78 I do indeed get 45!

Doctors are still money-grubbing scumbag junkies differing from lawyers only in the white lab coat as opposed to the 3-piece suit... and that the lawyer has to buy his cocaine illegally.

The median function in Excel 97 says you can use 1 or more values, I used 2 and got the 55.66 prolly due to a rounding error.

I had some friends back in the '70's who were into hi-end audio and heard much of the same stuff about vinyl being 'warmer', monster tube amps being 'warmer', Neumann mikes being 'warmer', etc.

One friend subscribed to "THE ABSOLUTE SOUND" a really hi-end audio magazine for rich audio freaks, they had articles by people who were polarizing their AC power plugs to 'improve' the sound, people who claimed they could tell the tin-lead mix in the solder used in the amp just by listening to it, thank God I missed the people who used concrete blocks and large lead weights on their amps to dampen sub-audio space gravity waves that 'distorted' the audio output...

CD's were the big bogey-men at this point, the audio techno nerds could read the frequency audio charts and THD ratings that were undetectable and talk about 'harshness' all they wanted but they knew that CD and digital audio technology was the end of their little analog world especially if you let ordinary people with good hearing to listen to an A or B comparison using the same amp and speakers but different inputs, ie, a turntable or a CD player.

I spent a lot of time listening to some very expensive analog equipment and offended my hosts by declaring the $300 CD player the winner when and if they decided to 'allow' an A or B comparison which was not often and never 'blind'. I think they knew all along what was better they just couldn't admit it after spending all that time and money on analog stuff...!

The speed difference I notice with my Wingate clients with only the proxy pointer set may be due to running the Wingate NT server machine logged off and the modem set to use both com ports in RAS.

Perhaps, although I note that DVD-Audio is on the horizon. It's similar to CD-DA, but uses larger samples and higher sampling rates. Frankly, I can't see how going beyond the typical 2 Hz to 20 KHz CD range will help, but I've been told by people who should know that it does. I can understand how using larger samples would help the sound, but I'm puzzled about increased sampling rates. People can't hear frequencies above 20 KHz, so I don't understand how including higher frequencies can improve the sound, but apparently there are issues I'm ignorant about.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: J.H. Ricketson [mailto:culam@neteze.com]
Sent: Sunday, November 21, 1999 7:26 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Cc: chriswj@mostxlnt.co.uk
Subject: Bluetooth - I'm Impressed!

Dear Bob, & Chris,

After reading a brief and rather cursory note from someone at COMDEX re Bluetooth technology, my curiosity was aroused. I did a search, and arrived at: http://www.bluetooth.com/v2/default.asp I am even more impressed. From the description, Bluetooth seems ike a wireless, ubiquitous USB connection; in other words, anything Bluetooth-enabled can connect with anything else that is Bluetooth-enabled. The presentation was slanted toward the road warrior PDA-using types. The details were clear however: NO MORE CABLES TO PULL! gone are the days of fumbling in the dark behind the box, trying to guess which side up the D connector should be, struggling &, in my case, cursing. For US$5 a pop, I can kiss cables goodbye - except possibly the monitor connection.

I'm amazed that the press hasn't really picked up on this - or perhaps I fail to grasp the situation. As I understand it, it will be the greatest thing since sliced bread - and coming soon to a store near you (1st half 2000). What is your, and your audience's, take on this?

Best regards to you & yours,

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

All I know about Bluetooth is the overview material that I've seen in Comdex reports and so on. I tend not to get excited about such technologies until (and if) they're deployed widely enough to become a standard. We'll see.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Werth, Timothy P [mailto:timothy.werth@eds.com]
Sent: Monday, November 22, 1999 9:31 AM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: FW: IE 5.01

http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q244/6/55.ASP

Thanks. It appears that they did patch quite a few bugs. I'm still not clear on why they removed the ability to open a new window as a separate process, though. Now, it seems, crashing one IE5.01 window will crash all of them. Not that I have a lot of problems with IE crashing.

 


 

 

 

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Tuesday, 23 November 1999

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When I took the dogs out for the last time last night, I found that a real pea-soup fog had moved in. Just for the heck of it, and not really expecting any usable results, I went in and got the Olympus D-400Z. Knowing that the Olympus was likely to use its slowest shutter speed of 1/2 second, I held it as steady as I could and squeezed off a shot. Amazingly, the results are very close to what the scene actually looked like, including the color balance. What I found really interesting is that the sensor is apparently subject to solarization as a result of massive overexposure, just like film. Note that the centers of the streetlights are actually darker than the surrounding halos.

nachtundnebel.jpg (22668 bytes)

I decided to give Opera another try, and I wish I hadn't bothered. When I last tried Opera, it was at version 3.5x. I'd hoped that v3.60 would be much improved, but it's still an ugly, unintuitive, feature-poor product. It hung, believe it or not, trying to access one of its own help files. And they charge $35 for this mess. With IE5 free, they'd have to pay me to use Opera. They'd have to pay me quite a bit. 

One of the nasty little surprises is that they enforce their 30 day eval limit by some hidden means. I'd used v3.5x for five "user days" apparently. When I installed 3.60, it told me that I had 25 user days left. It is completely unacceptable for an application to leave parts of itself concealed like this. I did not give them permission to do so, not that they ever requested permission. They just did it, and I don't appreciate it. A quick search of the registry and disk files turned up nothing. So I've uninstalled Opera yet again, and yet again I'm sure it's left part of itself installed on my system. This is a bad product. I suggest you avoid it completely. I'd sooner use Navigator, which is no prize itself.

I'm going to install the IE 5.01 update now. Perhaps it will fix some of the minor but aggravating bugs in IE 5.00.

The Check Transmission light came on in Barbara's truck yesterday, so she called and made an appointment with our mechanic to drop the truck off this afternoon. She took my truck on errands this morning, and then stopped back home so that I could follow her out to the auto repair place. We put Duncan in the back seat and Malcolm in the far back of my truck, and I followed her out. Barbara warned me that Malcolm would yip the whole time, and indeed it started out that way. Barbara had left a Dire Straits CD in the player, and I started wondering if perhaps Malcolm wasn't a rock fan. So I pulled the Dire Straits and put in J. S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos. As soon as that CD started playing, Malcolm shut up. He never uttered another yip the entire trip out and back. Malcolm seems to prefer Concerto #3 in G major, which is also probably my favorite.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Werth, Timothy P [mailto:timothy.werth@eds.com]
Sent: Monday, November 22, 1999 2:40 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: RE: IE 5.01

Agreed on IE 5 being fairly stable. On thing I found interesting on the download is that there is an option for Windows 2000 under OS to choose. As far as why MS removed the ability to open a new window in a new process I don't know. As usual, why ask why?

L8r, Tim

I read further about 5.01, and found out that Microsoft made the "open window in a new process" automatic, based on the amount of installed memory. If you have 32 MB or less, it opens the new window in the same process. If you have more, it uses a separate process. That makes sense, and I can live with it. I guess I'll have to download the W2K version as well. I was hoping to run the NT4 version. Oh well.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: gyuhasz [mailto:dyuhasz@home.com]
Sent: Monday, November 22, 1999 7:53 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: (no subject)

robert 

i have a hp 7200 writer but cannot format re-writables any suggestions?

No idea. I don't have any HP CD-R(W) drives. If you're not using Adaptec DirectCD, that'd probably be the place to start. Perhaps one of my readers can offer a suggestion.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Scott Kitterman [mailto:kitterma@erols.com]
Sent: Monday, November 22, 1999 10:10 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: NT 4.0 SP 6

Shortly after SP 6 was released I wrote you and told you all was well at first glance after applying the service pack. I now have a slightly different view.

I had installed SP on two machines. At work I put it on my Dell Optiplex PII 400 and at home on my handbuilt based on an Epox KP6-BS MB and Dual PIII 450.

At work I developed a memory leak after I applied the SP that seemed to be about 2-4 MB per day and Memturbo couldn't reclaim it. In normal usage I tend to be around 100 - 110 MB allocated RAM and so it didn't take long for the memory leak to push me into swap file usage. SP 6 didn't seem to help any problems I was having at work, so I uninstalled it. All has been fine since. BTW, I run Lotus Notes at work and didn't have any problems. Based on the comment on Pournelle's site today, I think that's because my user account has administrator rights so the rights issue doesn't come up.

At home, SP 6 fixed an Ethernet (3c905b) problem and a Macafee Net Shield problem I was having. Additionally, I don't seem to get the memory leak at home, so I've left it on.

Bottom line is if you aren't having any problems, you probably don't need it, but giving it a try appears not to hurt. I attribute the difference in results to the fact that I'm running the single processor kernel at work and the multi-processor kernel at home, but that's pure speculation on my part.

Scott Kitterman
kitterma@erols.com

Thanks. I'm running SP5 on all my systems now, but haven't yet installed SP6 on anything. I think I'll hold off for a while

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Bo Leuf [mailto:bo@leuf.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 1999 5:43 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: sound and sampling

Bob,

>>> People can't hear frequencies above 20 KHz, so I don't understand how including higher frequencies can improve the sound, but apparently there are issues I'm ignorant about. <<<

And a fair number of people don't even reach 20k. No matter, sound sampling does have a number of non-obvious caveats, some of which depend on what you are sampling. I assume you're familiar with the factor 2 rule, that says you need to sample at double or better the highest frequency in the sample. This however only gets you back an assumed pure sine wave at this frequency, which the original is probably not. Luckily, we don't easily detect this difference at high frequencies. Still, it is a better design to sample higher than just factor 2, and preferably at a rate that is not a harmonic factor. My CuBase Audio system has for example a base sample clock of (standard) 44.1 kHz, which is pretty much the minimum to make usable digital recordings for e.g. CD. Additionally, of course, the sampled signal must be filtered to the specified cut-off to avoid sample artifacts.

One quality issue for waveform reconstruction has to do with harmonics, the mixing and heterodyning of different frequencies that generate beat effects both above and below the component ones. Musical audio (from real instruments) runs the whole range of frequencies, sometimes "pure", sometimes very complex. Some of the subtle complexities can be the result of frequencies that are by themselves inaudible. One may notice deficiencies due to this in very demanding classical music, partly due to the very non-linear characteristics of some instruments, partly due to the extreme dynamic range. Popular music is largely sample and synth based to begin with, and heavily filtered, so it by definition conforms to the bandwidth constraints.

"In my youth" (late 60s) I was into amplifiers and music a lot -- built a couple of really good (transistor not tube) amplifier systems -- and for a while I held "music evenings" at the local library. They had a mid-sized music room (seated 10-20) with a top range tube amplifier and good speakers, not to mention an extensive collection of music of all kinds. Back then, the heated quality discussions were all about tube effect amps contra transistor ones, and even the "electronic music" emerging was analog-based. I eventually formed the opinion that, true, a lot of transistor amps could and did produce intrusive non-linear distortion, but this was a design issue and could be reduced. Tube based amps often actually prodced more distortion, but since this was mostly harmonic, it was perceived as a "richer" sound, not an unpleasant one. But distortion was distortion, and I did not especially care for "fuzzy" sound. Given a good enough design, both types of amp were comparable -- the caveat of course being that low distortion was not the vital requirement with tube amps that it was with transistor ones.

In a related way, the main problem with digital recording as I see it is the type of distortion that you get, either from faulty reproduction or from errors in reading the digital track. These faults are usually extremely intrusive, compared to the kind of transient faults experienced with analog recordings that the listener often can ignore.

Closed windows of opportunity in history...

The Brits (as always) once had a novel suggestion to "improve" AM radio reproduction of music, based on our lack of detail discrimination in the higher bands. This was to simply cut out anything above 8 or 10 kHz and artificially "enhance" the range to 20 KHz. Special coded signals would be broadcast representing the presence of any signal within a particular (narrow) frequency band in the 10-20 kHz range. The new generation of AM receivers would then contain a special chip that produced sine waves (or was it harmonically rich waves?) of an arbitrary frequency within the corresponding band whenever the appropriate trigger signal was decoded. Fortunately, this idea was shelved after some initial prototyping, otherwise who knows where it would have turned up.

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

As usual, the breadth and depth of your knowledge amazes me.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Scott Kitterman [mailto:kitterma@erols.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 1999 5:57 AM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Border Collie Essay

If you get this in time, there was a short, but very nice essay/eulogy for a border collie on NPR's Morning Edition at 0545 (EST). It should be on again at 0745. Given your views on the breed I expect you'd find it a worthwhile listen.

Scott Kitterman
kitterma@erols.com

Got it, thanks. Barbara and I listened to it on the clock-radio. It was either that or go down and sit in one of the trucks. Listening to that essay reminded me again of how unfortunate it is that human and canine life spans differ so much. How much better it would be if dogs lived about the same span as humans. One could buy a puppy for a child and that child would have a friend for life.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Bo Leuf [mailto:bo@leuf.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 1999 9:31 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: RE: sound and sampling

Bob,

I have always had a curiosity that knew no bounds or artificial field constraints, and ready access to libraries, encyclopedias, and people who knew things. Retentive memory and speed reading helped. The facts do pile up after a few decades y'know. You may take your own knowledge of PCs, handguns, dogs, phones, American history and literature, etc, etc. for granted, but often as not you amaze the hell out of your readers with your own breadth and depth.

My blushes, Watson.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Jan Swijsen [mailto:qjsw@oce.nl]
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 1999 10:38 AM
To: Robert Bruce Thomson
Subject: sound on CD

>so I don't understand how including higher frequencies can improve the sound, but apparently there are issues I'm ignorant about.

I am not a sound expert myself but I know from experiments with ultra sound in bat tracking that interference patterns produced by mixing high frequency (bat range) and ultra high frequency (above the frequency bats hear) sounds they could be tricked.

Resonance and eigen-frequencies may also play a role.

I am however not sure if these effects will be noticeable to normal users

Svenson

Perhaps. That reminds me that I could hear bats when I was young. I wonder what else I've lost.

 


 

 

 

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Wednesday, 24 November 1999

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Another day devoured by one thing and another. Barbara took Malcolm to the vet today for his first full set of inoculations against rabies, parvovirus, and so on. She was very happy when Sue told her that she heard no evidence of the heart murmur she'd noticed during the first visit. 

Then we needed to go pick up Barbara's truck. Fortunately, the transmission problem was cleared up simply by changing fluid. Bach didn't work on Malcolm this time. Yip, yip, yip the whole way there. He rode back in my lap. At one point, he was standing with both front paws braced on the steering wheel, so I let him drive for a while. I had to work the pedals, though. 

By the time we got back early this afternoon, I was so tired that I settled in for a nap. Then it was off to the library and an early dinner. Now I really must do something about moving my stuff out of the kitchen and getting the kitchen cleaned up. We have Barbara's family coming tomorrow for Thanksgiving, and my cousin from Pittsburgh stopping by Friday, so I won't have time for much here. Mail is backing up, of course. I'll get to everything as soon as I can.

 


 

 

 

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Thursday, 25 November 1999

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Happy Thanksgiving.

Tom Syroid mentioned the ZDNet update service on his page yesterday, so I decided to give it a try. I wasn't very impressed. It requires Java, so I enabled Java in Netscape Navigator, downloaded the plug-in, and installed it. I was a little concerned about what it might do. God knows I don't like the idea of something scanning my drive for who knows what and reporting it to who knows who. But I did it anyway.

After chugging away for a while, it suggested exactly four updates: 

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 3.00 to 4.05
  • CuteFTP 2.0 to 3.5
  • Microsoft FrontPage 98 3.0.2.926 to 3.0.2.1706
  • Windows NT SP5 to SP6

I'm actually running Acrobat 3.02 rather than 3.00, but that's a quibble. I no longer use CuteFTP, having replaced it with FTP Voyager, so I'm not surprised that CuteFTP is out of date. The FrontPage 98 update they refer to is, I believe, a patch that Microsoft recommends applying only under certain conditions, none of which apply to me. And I have FrontPage 2000 installed, anyway. And anyone who advises upgrading SP5 to the hideous SP6 should be shot. So, all told, not much useful advice here.

It also completely missed a lot of stuff. Some of them were pretty obvious. I'm running Netscape Navigator 4.05, for example, and the latest version is 4.08 (or was the last time I looked). You'd think it would have noticed that one, given that I was using Nav 4.05 to run the Java applet. Others were less obvious, such as outdated video drivers. All in all, a useless service. At least it gives me the motivation to uninstall Navigator, which I should have done long ago.

I mentioned to Barbara this morning that Steve Tucker's page says he's giving Linux another try. She expressed surprise that he hadn't just given up, since he's been trying without success to get Linux running for quite some time. I said, "Well, Jerry's been messing around with Linux on and off for a year or more now, too, and he hasn't given up. For that matter, I just got Red Hat 6.1 and I'm going to bring up a Linux box or two as well." She replied, "I just don't understand why you guys keep messing with something that you can't make work without spending time that you don't have to learn more about it." 

The female versus the male way of looking at things, I guess. Male: "Don't give up the ship!" Female: "Why not just get a new ship instead of wasting time on this old ship with all those nasty holes in it?"

 


 

 

 

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Friday, 26 November 1999

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Oops. As numerous readers have pointed out, the post that I attributed yesterday to Tom Syroid in fact appeared on Dave Farquhar's page. 

In shocking news, Dr. Keyboard has run out of keyboards, thereby mandating a change in my Outlook Contacts record for him from "Dr. Keyboard" to "Dr. Keyboardless". Dr. Keyboardless (aka Chris Ward-Johnson) has, get this, fewer keyboards than he has computers. Now, for many of us, that's not unusual. We use switch boxes to share one keyboard among multiple machines. But not so Dr. Keyboardless. No, he physically moves them between machines. Of course, given the cost of keyboards in the European Workers' Paradise, I'm not surprised. 23 for a Microsoft keyboard seems a bit much when the same keyboard would be about $23 here. Of course, we wouldn't have to pay 20 shipping, either, let alone VAT.

Dr. Keyboardless was also making snide remarks in mail about some people filling up their daily journal pages by printing lots of mail from readers, and complaining that he doesn't get any mail (or readers) on his site. So let's all go over and visit his page now, and send him lots of mail. Actually, all kidding aside, his page is well worth visiting if you haven't been there before. If you have been there before, you know whether it's worth revisiting or not. And now, I think I'll print lots of mail from readers.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: maceda@pobox.com [mailto:maceda@pobox.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 1999 7:27 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: IE5 Win95/98/NT/2000/Millenium are the same

"I guess I'll have to download the W2K version as well. I was hoping to run the NT4 version. Oh well. "

As the title states although Microsoft has the option for several downloads depending on the OS you use, for all 32bit operating systems (NT 4 and 2000) and Win95/98 (16bit) the downloads are the same. It will check your current installation and it will only download the required files. It is more a service pack this way.

Francisco Garcia Maceda
maceda@pobox.com

I guess I must have missed the W2K option when I downloaded the 5.01 update.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: maceda@pobox.com [mailto:maceda@pobox.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 1999 7:36 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Part 2: IE5 Win95/98/NT/2000/Millenium are the NOT same

I am sorry to inform you that I was dead wrong on my assertion about NT and Windows 2000 regarding IE 5.01. I have just read the ie.txt file in the download folder I created and I quote:

"Installing Over Windows 2000 Releases
-------------------------------------
This is not a supported configuration. Setup will appear to run, but it will update the name of the browser without updating the components. You cannot do a full installation of Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 components over Windows 2000 releases."

Go figure!

Francisco Garcia Maceda
maceda@pobox.com

Hmm. That's good to know. Incompatible DLLs or something, no doubt.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Beierwaltes [mailto:bill@notebox.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 24, 1999 10:54 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: Thanks!

Dear Mr. Thompson,

I'd like to thank you for your patience and appreciation regarding our latest release of Echo 3.0. You comments gave a hard working software development team a real boost. Thanks for taking the time to write.

Bill Beierwaltes
OnStream CEO and Chairman

Thanks, but I just call them as I see them. And I'll continue to recommend OnStream tape drives to my web site and book readers, particularly now that the bundled Echo software has been improved so much. If I could make one more suggestion, it would be that you use shrouded connectors for the ATAPI/SCSI connector on the drive. I've had some problems with the current models, which use bare pins. Although it's possible to work around those problems, adding a keyed shrouded connector would greatly improve the drive, and would probably cut down on support calls as well.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Tom Syroid [mailto:tom@syroidmanor.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 24, 1999 10:47 AM
To: Robert Thompson
Subject: Diskeeper 5

Bob,

I take it you know about this already?

1. DISKEEPER 5.0 FOR WINDOWS 2000 - The first and only Utility Microsoft-Certified for Windows 2000 Released at COMDEX

Diskeeper's amazing performance gains are now available from the bottom to the top of the Windows platform: Windows 95/98, Windows NT...and now Windows 2000!

Here's the link for the patch/update:

http://www.executive.com/downloads/menu.asp

Cheers,

/tom

No, I wasn't aware of it, so thanks for letting me know. When I went to the Diskeeper web site to download the patch, I found that they'd changed to one of those obnoxious schemes that requires you to give all your personal information before you can download anything. I registered as anonymous, as usual, and found that there are actually four patches available, one each for Server and Workstation in both NT4 and NT5 versions. I downloaded all four, planning to install the NT4W patch on kiwi so that I could defrag its drive. As it turns out, I needn't have bothered, because Diskeeper 5 still won't touch that volume when it's running under NT4. However, I can install the W2KP patch and run Diskeeper 5.03 under W2KP to defrag my NT4 volume.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: M.F. or M.L. McDonell [mailto:mcdonell35@earthlink.net]
Sent: Thursday, November 25, 1999 9:30 AM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Thanksgiving Greetings

....to you and yours.

Looking at the ingenious lighting arrangement in the Dining room, it appears that you need a bigger door (or a bigger house).

It sounds as if you will be dining on home cooking. We elected to take advantage of the Lake Tahoe dining facilities (i.e. Turkey Buffet at one of the hotels).

Thinking of you and your efforts, the new site could use a bit larger font over on the left side where your links are located..

Regards,

Maurice McDonell.
McDonells
1303 KINGSLANE
GARDNERVILLE NV 89410-6006

1 (775) 783-1824
e-mail mcdonell35@earthlink.net 

Thanks. You're probably right about the bigger house, although it seems that a four-bedroom, three-bath home with a complete apartment downstairs should be adequate for Barbara, my mother, and me. We did indeed have Thanksgiving at home, as we do every year. I can't imagine going out to a restaurant on Thanksgiving Day. Of course, as any of my friends will tell you, I tend to teeter on the edge of going postal when I'm forced to stand in line at a restaurant. Standing in line is for sheep and other livestock, not for people. Very few restaurants here take reservations, and I consider that to be uncivilized. As far as the font size in the left column, I did my best to strike a happy medium between readability and space requirements. I suppose I could increase that font size, but that'd mean a narrower pane for the main body text, so I think I'll probably just leave it as is.

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-----Original Message-----
From: M.F. or M.L. McDonell [mailto:mcdonell35@earthlink.net]
Sent: Thursday, November 25, 1999 9:51 AM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: IE 5

The version became necessary for me because many sites "refused" to open with IE 3. That long delay in updating versions saved me from IE 4. A fable picked up somewhere states that "Even numbers of IE are "beta"; whereas, odd numbers work out the bugs." I think some pseudo science is creeping into the net.

An observation about IE 5. My copy was downloaded from the MS site and seemed to be OK. Later, using Eudora 3.0, I noticed a tendency for Eudora to crash - the usual message is that Eudora "...can't get a socket...". This usually occurs when IE 5 is loaded. I can't more accurately describe the problem but I don't think that MS has planted a file that IE 5 that detects and tries to discourage use of any one else's e-mail program. Or does it? Eudora has issued version 4.x but I don't know if this new version can cope with the "Evil Empire".

My hardware is more than 3 years old; a Gateway P5-100 upgraded to 200MHZ last year. 48 MB RAM. I still have Windows 95 installed. Would Win 98 be an improvement?

Got a great laugh out of the dog and Bach. Our cat behaves differently depending on the music selection. She paces around when "Cats" is on, sleeps with Beethoven.

I doubt that Microsoft did anything intentionally with IE4/5 to break Eudora. As far as Win98 versus Win95, you're asking the wrong guy. I run a couple of Win9X boxes, but they're mainly just for doing screen shots for books.

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-----Original Message-----
From: M.F. or M.L. McDonell [mailto:mcdonell35@earthlink.net]
Sent: Thursday, November 25, 1999 10:25 AM
Subject: Bats

When television appeared on our block, the sound from the horizontal sweep amplifier drove me CRAZY. I think it was at 17,000 Hz. I have not heard that well for years. Thanks to the M-1 Rifle, my hearing is much less now.

For fun and a degree of necessity, I looked for and found an inexpensive SUV for use around this area in winter. It is a 1988 Toyota 4 Runner and has had very hard usage. It is also ugly. When I leave the headlights on after switching off the ignition, it emits a warning sound that I cannot hear unless my right ear is aimed right at the switch.

Amazing?

Now that you mention it, I can also remember being able to hear TVs whistling, particularly when I had the case off to work on one. I suspect that loss of hearing at high frequencies is simply a matter of aging. I've shot a lot over the years, but nearly always with hearing protection in place, and yet I know I have some loss at high frequencies. I certainly can't hear TVs whistling any more. And I haven't heard bats chittering since I was a kid.

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-----Original Message-----
From: John Biel [mailto:jpbiel@linamar.ca]
Sent: Thursday, November 25, 1999 6:22 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: female view of time wasting

"I just don't understand why you guys keep messing with something that you can't make work without spending time that you don't have to learn more about it."

The interesting thing about this statement is that if we had all taken this view of MS-DOS, MS Windows, MS Office etc., they wouldn't ever have become the most dominant software company in existence ever.

True. The difference, of course, is that MS-DOS was effectively the only game in town unless one was willing to plunk down twice as much money for a slower Mac. Linux fights an uphill battle for the mainstream PC market because everyone knows how to make Windows do pretty much what they want. Although everyone moans about application availability under Linux, that's not the real problem for most users. StarOffice, Navigator, etc. are good enough. The real problem is at a much lower level: Where's Notepad (or the equivalent)? How do I copy a file? List the contents of a directory? Create a new directory? Format a floppy? (And, yes, I already know the answer to all those questions, but I'm not a typical potential Linux user.) The real problem is that Linux is full of show-stoppers for the average Windows user. Once Linux has a usable, stable GUI, things will change a lot. Ideally, that GUI will look as much like Windows as possible, or at least have the option to be configured with Windows' look and feel. We're nowhere near where we need to be with Linux as a client OS, but my guess is that we will be there in a year or two. Microsoft had better look out then..

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-----Original Message-----
From: ROBERT RUDZKI [mailto:rasterho@pacbell.net]
Sent: Friday, November 26, 1999 3:40 AM
To: Robert Bruce Thompson
Subject: Linux and a new holiday!

Bob:

Today being the 25th of November I decided to reload Redhat Linux 5.1on my main system again the HP Vectra X/U 6/200 [dual 180's and only 64 meg of ram] just to see what Jerry and Steve have and what you will be going through real soon now.

Well, it could be easier. The first pass thru Linux identified the video card as a generic svga when it was a Matrox Millenienm 2 meg which totallly screwed up the X window stuff that is started by 'startx'!

After some thought I replaced it with a Grafiix 450 with 4 meg of dram for vram, Linux detected it fine and set up the X windows thingie real good, only the card has developed an intermittent dram error which takes down any computer you put it in so I had to take it out and put back the Matrox 2 meg card.

Then I fought with the LILO boot manager for a few reloads until i realized i could mount Win NT volumes and boot from them sometimes using the LILO just by reading the instructions!

The text mode console screens worked fine the whole time, X windows is useless in the default loading, I tried installing Netscape but it kept erroring.

I installed Samba and it saw the other machines on my TCP/IP network, but I could not get the printer to work at all, an HP LaserJet 5L on Taylor's Win 95 machine...

Finally I reformatted the HD and installed Windows NT 4.0 and applied SP5...

If I were a certain science fiction writer who makes a very comfortable living [Hell, he told us he made more per month from his OS/2 Professional column alone as short as it lasted than I get from the US Gummint for 20 years of faithful service and I know more about OS/2 than Pournelle ever did. Nor did I have the benefit of teams of IBM engineers coming to my house to set up my systems... I learned it the hard way.]

I would say LINUX IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR THE HOME USER BIG TIME!

The new holiday is "HollowThanksGreedMass" it starts 31 October 99 and lasts until 1 HangOver 00 with a lot of money and white powder shoved up noses... =8^-)

You're probably right about Linux for the home user, although I suspect that'll be changing over the next couple of years. I have an old Gateway Pentium/133 with 64 MB that I'm going to set up as a Linux server. I'll also probably set up a second Linux box as a client, but I'm not sure which one I'll use for that yet. Probably something like a 300 MHz Pentium/II with 128 MB.

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-----Original Message-----
From: Tom Syroid [mailto:tom@syroidmanor.com]
Sent: Friday, November 26, 1999 9:40 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: RE: Diskeeper 5

Well that's interesting... I hesitated to send you this info, as I thought you'd be pretty current on the Executive releases, but in the end I'm glad I did.

I don't use DK5 myself (can't afford it at the moment, but I plan to buy it when I can), but I know you do. Too bad they didn't fix the incompatibility problems, but I honestly don't think this issue is Executive's -- I suspect it goes back to the fact that Win2K goes and merrily updates ALL NTFS partitions to NTFS5 when it installs. Thereafter, nothing designed to access NTFS4 file structures will work.

This little sleight of hand has got to be one of the biggest "fool moves" I seen MS to with Win2K to date. Unfortunately, not many people know about it. Yet.

Oh, yes, installing W2KP definitely changed something on my NT4 volume. I installed NT4W first, and was able to run Diskeeper on that volume with no problems. I then installed W2KP on another volume, and Diskeeper immediately refused to run. So I blew away everything down to bare metal, installed NT4W again, but this time used NT4W Disk Administrator to create and format an NTFS volume where W2KP would reside. Again, Diskeeper worked fine until I installed W2KP. Once I did, Diskeeper stopped working on the NT4 volume again. My guess is that installing W2KP makes some kind of minor change to the partition table or master boot record or something. It certainly can't literally be converting my NT4 volume to NTFS5, or NT4 wouldn't be able to read its own volume. 

 


 

 

 

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Saturday, 27 November 1999

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Barbara and her family drove up to the mountains this morning on their regular annual jaunt to the tree farm. She just got home with our Saturnalia tree. So commences a month of Saturnalia and related holiday stuff, concluding with the Feast of Sol Invicta on Brumalia (the traditional Winter Solstice on December 25), Janus Day (January 1), and Compitalia in the first days of the new year. And that reminds me that I still have to figure out what to get Barbara for Saturnalia. I just ordered her birthday presents this morning. None too soon, because her birthday is next Tuesday. Then again, I hate to wait until the last minute.

 


 

 

 

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Sunday, 28 November 1999

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I must be losing it. Barbara's birthday is Thursday, not Tuesday. I did remember the date correctly, but I was thinking that Tuesday rather than Thursday was December 2. Barbara is pulling out all the stops today to get the Christmas/Saturnalia stuff out. That means I had to remove my stuff from the kitchen, dining room, and library. I'm beginning to really covet my mother's apartment downstairs. There's probably close to 1,000 square feet (93 square metres) of space down there--complete with bathroom and kitchen--that I could readily convert to working space. But mom whines about the weather turning colder and how she doesn't want to live in a tent in the back yard. At 81 years old, she appears to have lost her Pioneer Spirit.

I'm about ready to move kiwi into place as my main workstation. It's gone through rigorous burn-in and testing without any problems at all. My current main workstation, kerby, is and will remain the backup domain controller for the network, as well as the WinGate server. This seems a good time to do some planning, because I'm going to end up with a lot of machines on, under, and around this desk and credenza before long. Kiwi dual-boots Windows NT 4 Workstation and Windows 2000 Professional RC2. I'd intended to triple-boot it by adding Windows 98, but that didn't work out for some reason. I still have odin, an old Dell Pentium/200, running Windows 98, so that's not really a problem. But I'll soon need a Linux server, a Linux client, and at least two Windows 2000 Server machines on or around my desk, so now is the time to plan for all this stuff.

 

 

 


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