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Daynotes Journal

Week of 19 June 2000

Friday, 18 April 2003 07:57

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


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About Mail

IF YOU SEND MAIL to thompson@ttgnet.com or webmaster@ttgnet.com, I may publish it, including your email address. If you do not want your message published; or do not want your email address published; or want your email address published but in disguised form (e.g. thompson at ttgnet dot com); or want a different email address published than what appears in your "From:" field; or want your message published anonymously, send your message to anonymous@ttgnet.com and note whatever special handling you want at the top of the message. I don't publish many completely anonymous messages, but I do my best to honor requests to remove or conceal senders' email addresses. Note that if I reply to one of your messages, my message will be From: thompson@ttgnet.com, so if you reply to one of my replies and want any special handling, make sure to change the To: field to anonymous@ttgnet.com before you send your reply.

I try to respect confidences, but I sometimes get more than 100 email messages a day, not counting mailing list traffic and spam. Things are always very hectic around here, and stuff happens. Using anonymous@ttgnet.com helps me keep things sorted out. Using it is not a 100% guarantee that I won't mishandle your message, but it is about 99.999% certain, because messages sent to that account are sorted into a special Outlook mail folder.

If mail you send to one of my ttgnet.com addresses bounces, you can resend it to ttgnet@triad.rr.com. That's my alternate main mail address, and I check it frequently. I try to answer mail as soon as possible, but it's gotten to the point where I simply don't have time to reply to all of it. So if you send me mail and get a short reply or no reply at all, I apologize. I'm working as hard as I can.


Monday, 19 June 2000

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Duncan woke me up again this morning, making vomiting noises. This time, alas, it was 0445. Still dark outside, and one of the longest days of the year. As usual, Malcolm reacted to the rush to get Duncan outside by blocking our way, barking, and attacking Duncan. Well, not attacking him, but herding him, as any good Border Collie would do. I did finally get Duncan out, but not in time to avoid all the mess. For the first time ever, I got to wave at the guy who delivers our morning newspaper. Nice to know that it shows up before 0500. And I got to clean up again. This time I had to put the bedspread in the washer as well. Some days I like these dogs better than other days. With only about four hours' sleep, I can barely see straight, so this'll be a short post. I'm also not sure I'd pay much attention to what I say in response to the messages I've posted. I can barely make my fingers hit the right keys.

HP has taken a lot of flak recently for their lack of updated drivers, particularly for Windows 2000, but this article from the Register is rather extraordinary. It seems that HP says their CD burners won't support 80 minute CD blanks, but it turns out that the HP 8100i and 8110i burners are actually made by Sony. One reader downloaded and installed the Sony firmware update. He now has an HP-labeled drive that reports itself to the OS as a Sony CRX100E and supports 80 minute blanks with no problem. (And, yes, I'm still reading The Register despite their tiny little fonts. I just grit my teeth and bear it.)

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Sherburne Jr [mailto:ryszards@bellsouth.net]
Sent: Sunday, June 18, 2000 12:39 PM
To: 'webmaster@ttgnet.com'
Subject: d-link 701

Bellsouth has been kind enough to bless me with an external DSL modem that connects to my computer via an ethernet card. BS was this nice b/c I now have a w2k notebook and an external ethernet modem was their only option. I miss the efficient 3060 diagnostics but the added flexibility is great. Which brings me to thoughts obtaining one of the router/hub combos that are flowering for folks like me (4 computers, 1 dsl line). Saw where Byte.com semi-gushed over the D-Link 701. It apparently runs a custom OS from a chip, the software is upgradeable, provides NAT and very granular port control. The review was last Monday 6/12/2000, in Byte.com. Looks good, price good ~ $100.00, do you think I am missing something? I was thinking on going to a linux on a floppy on an old 486 but maybe the D-link is a better idea? What say you sir?

I've never used one of these small routers, although I've heard good things about models from D-Link, LinkSys, and others. I think the main thing to look out for is how many PCs the router will support. I believe some of them can support only a very limited number of PCs and are either not upgradeable or upgradeable at a relatively high cost. Of course, if the model you're looking at supports four PCs and you'll never have more than that, that's not an issue. I can't comment on how secure such small routers are, because I know little about them. In general, a NAT by itself provides a pretty decent level of security. If the router also supports basic permit/deny filtering by TCP/UDP port, it should be fairly secure if configured properly. Perhaps some of my readers will comment.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Huth [mailto:mhuth@internetcds.com]
Sent: Sunday, June 18, 2000 2:05 PM
To: Robert Bruce Thompson
Subject: Ok, now what do I do?

Robert,

I've grown tired of having to switch ISP's and email addresses. Further, I thought I'd like to attempt a web page. I've registered a domain.

My question is "now what"?

Someone has to host such a domain, don't they? Who does such things and how do I select someone? What can I do on my own machines? I can put up a web server, but how do the dns servers know where to find such a beast. Through an ISP, but in what fashion?

How do I get mail directed to my domain?

Yep, someone has to host your domain. That can be you or someone else. The "someone else" option is likely best, unless you want to get involved in the intricacies of maintaining your own web and mail servers, learning about DNS, and so on. As it happens, RoadRunner is not providing a static IP address for my connection, which complicates matters if I want to host my own domain. But even if they did provide a static IP address, I probably wouldn't bother hosting my own domain. I simply don't have time to be my own web hosting service, and I suspect you don't either. I'll continue paying pair Networks to do what they do best, which is host domains.

I'd recommend you find a web hosting service and allow them to take care of the details of hosting your domain. They'll provide DNS service and take care of handling mail for you. There are several web sites listed on my links page that list various web hosting services and compare the services they provide and their costs. I'm happy with pair Networks, but unless you're comfortable working at a UNIX command prompt, you may prefer something a bit more polished. I've heard good things about Burlee Networks (http://www.burlee.net) although I have no personal experience with them. They have an all-you-can-eat plan for about $14/month that sounds ideal for a lot of single-domain users.

If you do decide to roll your own, you'll need to worry about DNS. If you have a static IP address, you can run one DNS server locally. But you need a second DNS server, both for practical reasons and to comply with the requirements of the domain registry. You can get that second DNS by pairing with someone else who's doing the same thing: you provide secondary DNS for him on your server, and he provides secondary DNS for you on his server. Alternatively, there are web sites, many cheap or free, that specialize in providing DNS for people doing this. Whichever way you get DNS, you'll need to get comfortable with creating DNS resource records for your domain. The MX resource record, for example, defines how mail is handled for your domain. You'll also need to bring up a mail server, which is a non-trivial undertaking, to put it lightly.

On balance, it all comes down to a make-or-buy decision. Imagine you need a new car. You can go out and buy a Toyota or Mercedes, which is the equivalent of going with a commercial web hosting service. Or you can go out and buy a pile of raw materials and build your own car, which is the equivalent of hosting your own domain. I'm sure that building a car from raw materials would be great fun, but it's not what most people consider doing when they need a new car. Similarly, hosting your own domain is great fun, and you'll learn a lot, but it's not for the faint of heart.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Ronald McCarty [mailto:mccartyr@hotmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, June 18, 2000 2:34 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Always on connections

Hi Robert,

Keep up the good work on your web pages.

You mentioned that BellSouth has advantages that other ISPs have, which I do not disagree with; however, I did want to point out that modem use to ISPs is a major resource for telcos and a resource used regardless of whether the telco provides the ISP or not. However, there are capacity management possibilites with their own ISP bound calls.

Whereas a typical telephone call lasts several minutes, modem calls average much longer. (I've seen quotes from 5 to 30 minutes compared to voice calls from 1 to 4 minutes.) These calls therefore take much more switch capacity than "normal" voice calls. A telo therefore actually has one more "capacity" reason to drop inactive lines than an ISP since they can drop the call at a predetermined time-out, which is not allowed with a call to another ISP.

Dropping an inactive line is not the same as limiting the users online time...many ISPs are simply trying to free up the port so that an oversubscription of users to ports is possible and still not have users receive busy signals.

In addition to dropping inactive conditions telcos are seeking other methods to off load the traffic such as internet call diversion. At the risk of being accused of shameless advertisement since I work for Lucent, I'll still mention the ICD for softswitch to show that the additional resources needed for Internet calls is being taken serious...

I think you've just been lucky by BellSouth not managing some resources or your box has keep the line up with name server requests. (It's very hard to get a Windows box "quiet". I've seen herrendous ISDN charges in Europe due to a Windows box wanting to talk to everyone in his workgroup via the Internet :-) )

Well, I once asked a telco engineer what resources were consumed by a nailed-up modem call that terminated at the CO. His response was "next to nothing." The real resource consumption occurs when the call is placed--you're using limited shared resources like a dial-tone generator, DTMF decoder card, and so on when you go off-hook and dial the call. After the call is established, assuming a truly non-blocking switch, all the nailed-up modem call is consuming is some bandwidth on a high-capacity backplane (and perhaps on some high-capacity interconnects). Granted, this is a simplification, but I think any telco engineer would agree that a long-duration modem call has a much lower resource-utilization footprint than the same aggregate call duration comprising many individual voice calls.

Of course, the real problem is that the telcos have forced users by default to use a switched service for what should naturally be a point-to-point service. If BellSouth really wants to offload Internet traffic from their switched network, the solution is to deploy ADSL universally. But I'm afraid they're going down the same path with ADSL that they did with ISDN, which wasn't widely available until it was effectively obsolete. Rather than charging users ~$40/month for dial-up Internet service (phone line + ISP charge), BellSouth should be charging them $40/month for unlimited ADSL service. That'd make everyone happy, but of course BellSouth and every other LEC is desperate to protect their T-carrier revenues, which generate very high profits.

It's interesting to watch what happens with cable modems and ADSL. Obviously, there are exceptions, but what usually happens in an area that is served by neither cable modem or ADSL is that once the cable company finally gets around to delivering cable modem service, by pure coincidence the phone company suddenly discovers soon after that they are capable of providing ADSL to that service area. I have a pre-order for ADSL in with BellSouth. Have had for a year or more, but I haven't heard a word from them. I expect to hear from them soon, offering to connect ADSL. 

The phone companies need to get off their butts and get serious about deploying ADSL, or the cable companies are going to eat their lunch.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Frank A. Love [mailto:falove@home.com]
Sent: Sunday, June 18, 2000 6:42 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Interesting link to try out with your new cable modem

After reading about your new cable hookup , I thought I would send you this link I found over at Ars Technica  This has one of the funniest video shorts I've seen in a long time called "Gearoge Lucas in Love". A takeoff on "Shakespeare in Love", It depicts Goerge Lucas as a struggling young undergraduate trying to come up with a script for his screen-writng class. Needless to say, the script is all around him.....

This has to be seen full screen to be fully appreciated. I watched it with RealPlayer which allows you to zoom to full screen and at 200 Kbps it was just like tv. If you have ten minutes to spare give it a try, you won't regret it!

I've had cable modem (@home) for about a year now and despite some extended outages (3 days once!) I would never give it up for a phone line modem. A couple of days ago I got a critical update notice from Microsoft. The file was 1964KB- almost 2 megabytes- yet it downloaded in less than ten seconds! .(I tried that bandwith link you listed earlier this week and it showed my speed at almost 1.9Mbps or 222KBps. This on a sunday afternoon at 4:30! )

Keep up the good work!

Thanks, but I'm afraid Real Networks is on my banned list. I don't like the company, their technology, or the fact that they were surreptitiously capturing data from users, as was widely reported some months ago. My throughput varies greatly, depending on time of day. When I got your message yesterday evening, I checked my own throughput on that web site, and found that it was only 230 Kb/s, no doubt because all the kids were at home and sucking down MP3s. On the other hand, during the day I have downloaded a 2.5 MB file in less than 15 seconds, which translates to something like 1.5 Mb/s. Fortunately, my usage pattern is exactly the opposite of most people's--I use the system heavily during the day and lightly during the evening--so overall I see pretty high throughput.


12:22: There's a nasty new email virus causing trouble. This one's called Life Stages and is described  here.

 


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Tuesday, 20 June 2000

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Barbara got back yesterday afternoon. The dogs are happy. My mother is happy. I'm happy. 

Barbara always turns on the Weather Channel while she reads the morning paper. We were surprised this morning to see footage of flooding in Greensboro, which is about 30 miles east of here. Turns out they had about 8 inches (200 mm) of rain yesterday. All we got was a light sprinkle. The flooding is destructive, but on balance Greensboro is probably happy to get the rain. Winston-Salem gets its water supply from the Yadkin River, which means we're never short of water, even during the worst droughts. Greensboro has no such advantage, and a drought often means Greensboro must live under severe water-usage restrictions. The rain yesterday should go far in restoring their reservoir.

Laundry today. We're running out of underwear, particularly Barbara, since Malcolm frequently thieves one of her used pair, carries them off, and shreds them. Malcolm doesn't like my manly underwear as much, presumably because they're not soft and silky, but he will steal them if none of Barbara's are available.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Jonathan Sturm [mailto:jpsturm@dingoblue.net.au]
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2000 4:02 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: SOHO routers

Hi Robert

I have been using the Intel iStation combined router/hub/firewall/DHCP server and it performs fine. It comes configured to serve IPs to 128 machines which is far more than my home office needs. The hub has only 4 ports, but can be extended by connecting to another hub. Upgrading the OS is similar to flashing a computer's BIOS and is a non-issue. Steve Gibson's Shields Up tells me the firewall is of the stealth type. That is, a probe of a port produces no response whatsoever, rather than denying the request.

Only hassle is that my son plays online games and some serverside utilities won't work with the iStation, so pending him earning enough for his own telephone line/ISP, I have reluctantly returned to ICS on Win2k. When I find the time (!), I intend to try the floppy based Linux Router Project on a 486 I have lying around.

Special thanks for the link to Courtney Love's exposé of the music industry. It has spurred me to action [1]. I have a friend, Garry Paige, who has written many great songs (including Heading in the Right Direction, Words Are Not Enough) that are all owned by Alberts here in Australia. They haven't sold a song of his for 15 years and an Internet search doesn't find him. Logging onto the Australian Performing Rights Association page with his password shows 17 pages of song titles to which he has rights!

Garry's wife tried to buy back the rights to his songs from Alberts and was told not to be so stupid: "I'm worth a fortune when he's dead!"

Some years ago, I took over a musician friend's (Paul Wyld) apartment when he left for the UK. Some weeks later, the royalty check for his songs and performance on a best-selling album, Bopping the Blues, arrived. It was for $A15 (about $US8). I recently discovered that Paul, like several other friends in the industry, had committed suicide.

Jonathan Sturm

[1] I have registered a domain and I am going to be promoting several of Garry's recent (and unsold) songs on a website. I'll let you know when it's up.

Thanks. I should probably get my hands on the Intel product--as well as the competing small routers made by LinkSys, D-Link, and others--and do some playing around. The problem is, I really need my connection, and taking it down to play with some alternative access method is just a non-starter. On my test-beds, I never worry about breaking something, because that's what they're for. If I turn on a test-bed system and it explodes with parts flying out and then burns to the ground, I haven't really lost anything. On the other hand, if I break my Internet access, I'm in deep do-do. I'm not so concerned about what I might do here as that RoadRunner might get upset with me at their end, say for changing IP addresses frequently, as testing such components would require. I should probably talk to them and explain what I do, but I'm a firm believer in keeping my head down when it comes to such things.

If you'll tell me when your site is up, I'll be happy to post a link to it in my daily journal.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Randall Sluder [mailto:roastmaster@mountaincity.com]
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2000 4:14 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: ZoneAlarm

Robert,

In reference to the letter from Tom Syroid, Friday, June 16:

I wouldn't be so quick to drop, or at least, to not try ZoneAlarm. My experience has been largely positive. I have it on a small peer-to-peer network with a mix of W95,W98, and W2K machines. I run Wingate rather than ICS because of the W95 machines, and because I'm familiar with it.

The learning period of ZA is a bit of a nuisance, but the robustness of the ZA/Wingate combination has made me forget whether I had any trouble installing or first trying to use it. I haven't had any problems or crashes setting blocks of IP addresses to allow their access. If no one talks me out of it, I'm going to put ZoneAlarm on another NT network of 30+ machines when we connect it to a cable this summer.

My impression is that earlier releases of ZA were de facto beta releases, but the current 2.0.25 is more stable. And while Deerfield has outsourced some of their customer support (onto their customers), I still like both of these companies' products well enough to continue using them.

It's good to know I'm not the only one awoken before dawn by barfing dogs 
....

Randall Sluder
rsluder@mountaincity.com

Thanks. Perhaps I will give it a try, then. Of course, Tom Syroid was using ICS on W2K, while we're both using WinGate, so perhaps that's what makes the difference.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Dan Seto [mailto:dan@seto.org]
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2000 9:27 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Analog DNS Lookup
re: http://www.ttgnet.com/daynotes/2000/20000612.html

"I also migrated Analog, the program I use for processing web stats, over to meepmeep. I was hoping that the higher speed connection would allow me to go back to doing DNS lookups while processing the raw log files"

Have you tried one of the Analog "Helper Files" found [here]

There are a list of DNS programs that work with Analog. The one I use is QuickDNS. If you haven't tried that yet, it may be worth your time to take a look at it.

Aloha - Dan

Thanks! No, I hadn't thought about trying that, so I appreciate you pointing it out. I played around with it last night, and it is indeed much faster at resolving names than is Analog. I finally decided to give it a serious test, so I fired up QuickDNS, changed the default 20 threads to 100 threads, and ran it against all of Pournelle's raw web log files for the year, which contain something over 7,000,000 hits. QuickDNS took only 45 minutes or so to do all the lookups. Now I just hope that RoadRunner doesn't get upset with me for beating their DNS server about the head and shoulders.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Farquhar [mailto:dfarq@swbell.net]
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2000 11:04 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: Useful printer repair resource

Bob,

Here's a long text file with repair tips for older printers that I figured a lot of people might find useful. I'd post it myself, but I'm taking a couple of days off to recuperate again. [here]

The tips helped me get an old, neglected HP DeskJet going again, though it didn't tell me how to take that particular printer apart, unfortunately. (I'd rather take the thing apart and give the pieces a bath rather than use a dozen cotton swabs--much faster.)

Dave
--
David L. Farquhar
Author, editor and systems analyst
dfarq@swbell.net
www.access2k1.net/users/farquhar

Thanks.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Andy [mailto:abushne1@san.rr.com]
Sent: Monday, June 19, 2000 11:15 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: hosting with rr

These guys provide a service that forwards people to your RR server. You run software on your server that sends the current IP address to these guys.

http://www.dynhost.com/ 

I haven't used it.

Thanks. It appears similar to other services run by companies such as TZO. I don't have any need (or desire) to run any publicly-accessible servers locally, but if I did something like this might be worth pursuing.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Huth [mailto:mhuth@internetcds.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2000 12:13 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: RE: Ok, now what do I do?

Good info Robert and thank you, sir! The Burlee site looks quite good. I'd looked at Pair.com as well (as both you and Jerry use it). I find it a bit confusing. FTP access, one email address which allows "catch all forwarding", I've sent off an email to them asking for clarification. I suppose that most of this is clear to someone with expertise, but to those of us without...

Yes, pair Networks presupposes that you know what you're doing, at least more so than many other web hosting companies. If web hosting companies were cars, pair Networks would definitely be an all-manual MGB with a rag top.

As far as forwarding, here's what they're talking about. When you host a domain with pair Networks, you get one POP mailbox, to which all mail sent to that domain is delivered. For example, if you send mail right now to huth@ttgnet.com it'll get dumped into my general delivery POP mailbox, and the next time I POP my mail, that message would show up here in my inbox. (And I wonder if some scummy spammer will grab that non-existent address and I'll start getting spam addressed to huth@ttgnet.com. Probably). 

I can, however, create rules to handle various addresses differently. For example, I have a rule in place now that causes mail sent to barbara@ttgnet.com to be forwarded automatically to thompsrb@bellsouth.net, which is the actual POP mailbox from which Barbara downloads her mail. Setting up such custom autoforward rules is available only with the Basic Account or higher at pair Networks. With their least expensive account, the FTP Account, you have exactly two choices: deliver all mail addressed to the domain to the main POP mailbox OR automatically forward all mail addressed to the domain to an external mailbox. For example, if you had huth.com set up as an FTP account, you could either POP all mail addressed to *.huth.com from the main mailbox, OR forward all mail addressed to *.huth.com to mhuth@internetcds.com (or some other external email address). Nothing in between, no custom autoforwards.

And the method you use at pair Networks to set up custom autoforwards is typical of what I was saying about pair versus more user-friendly web hosting companies. At most of the latter, you set up custom autoforwards using a web-based interface. At pair Networks, you create a UNIX text file that contains the configuration information, FTP that file to your home directory, login via Telnet to the UNIX server, and run a program called PMPROTO, which parses the text file and converts it to a binary configuration file that puts the forwarding rules into effect.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Jan Swijsen [mailto:qjsw@oce.nl]
Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2000 8:44 AM
To: Robert Bruce Thompson
Subject: the register

>I can barely make my fingers hit the right keys. 

Have you tried the left keys?

>I'm still reading The Register despite their tiny little fonts. I just grit my teeth and bear it I never get the small fonts. 

They always look about the same size as those on your own site, even in MS IE (4.0). Have you tried another browser?

I know you are not the biggest fan of Netsape (for once not a typing error:) but maybe you could use that. Only for those sites that look better in it than in MS IE.

-- 
Svenson.

Mail at work : qjsw@oce.nl
or call : (Oce HQ)-4727
Mail at home : sjon@svenson.com

Actually, The Register kind of fixed the problem as of this morning. The fonts still aren't sizable using the IE Font Size button, but they've changed to using a larger fixed-size font. I'd actually considered using Netscape to view The Register, because it displays the fonts in a usable size, and one that can be changed. Interestingly, Bo Leuf says that with regard to displaying font sizes for The Register, IE is doing exactly what it's told to do, so apparently Netscape is not. Based on my standard philosophy that the user should be in charge, that means the nod goes to Navigator in this instance. If only Navigator weren't so pathetically slow and bug-ridden I'd probably use it more often. As it is, I only use it infrequently when I need to check how a page displays in it.

 


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Wednesday, 21 June 2000

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I spent most of yesterday roughing out the website for PC Hardware in a Nutshell. The site is set up at pair Networks, but the DNS changes haven't propagated yet, and there's not much content up yet. The target date for the site being live is 1 August, which doesn't leave me much time to get things up and ready there. I'll have to spend most of my non-writing time getting that site up and running, so this site may suffer somewhat, with shorter and less-frequent updates than usual..

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: bilbrey@mta5.snfc21.pbi.net [mailto:bilbrey@mta5.snfc21.pbi.net] On Behalf Of Brian Bilbrey
Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2000 11:02 AM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Analog...

Regarding analog... do you have access to the configuration files that control what type of logs are kept for your domain?

If they're running apache and using named virtual hosting (likely), then see if you can add

HostnameLookups On

to your VirtualHost definition - then the logs would already contain the lookup information, gathered on the go, so to speak. Analog can cope with that, I am pretty sure, though I like Webalizer for the builtin graphics a lot more, these days.

I don't know whether I can do that. Telnetting to my account shows only two directories off my home directory, /www_logs and /public_html. When I ftp to my account, my home directory has several standard files (such as .profile), but the only one that may be usable for such a purpose is .pair. That file doesn't exist by default. pair Networks says that if you want detailed logging (including, for example, the browser type used by visitors) to add this file with one line "AllExtended". I did that long ago, and it does in fact add to the data logged about each visitor. So I ftp'd that file down, added the line "HostnameLookups On" to it and ftp'd it back up. We'll see what happens. Probably nothing, but it may work. On the other hand, it may kill my log files. 

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Worley
Sent: Tuesday, June 20, 2000 7:45 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: Cable Routers

I've been following the thread on small DSL/Cable router boxes. It's appropriate timing, and based on some of the comments I bought a LinkSys BEFSR11 yesterday.

Previously, I was using a Linux box with two ethernet cards, running IP Masquerading. It's an old P90 which I configured three years ago and stood up well, running continuously with no monitor or keyboard. I had always meant to upgrade it to the one-floppy router mostly to get rid of the spinning hard drive.

But people liked the little hardware routers, so for $110, I tried it. I could always return it, and I could always switch back to my Linux box if it was a problem.

The summary: 30 minutes after I opened the Linksys box, my entire network was connected behind the firewall and working flawlessly. W98/ NT4, Linux, and Macs.. none had any problems at all. The configuation was delightfully simple, you just fire up a web browser and change values. And most people won't even have to do that.. the defaults are fine. Even flashing the firmware only took a few minutes to upgrade the unit to the Latest and Greatest.

I used the Shields Up! web tester to probe, and I got the happy response "I can't get anything from your computer. It's a black hole. It's the best possible result."

And best of all, there's no hard drive, power supply fan, or anything.. it's just a silent box that's the same shape and size as an external modem. Very unobtrusive.

Anyway, I heartily recommend the LinkSys Cable Router, even after just 1 day. It Just Worked, and I feel happy and confident of it. I like hardware that does an important job efficiently with no fuss... and this one does just that. A strong thumbs up for anyone with more than one computer, and a cable or DSL line.

-Steve Worley

Thanks. I may indeed get one of those, or one of the competing models from D-Link or Intel. It does seem rather a waste to have an NT box sitting there doing nothing but gatewaying to RoadRunner.

 


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Thursday, 22 June 2000

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The morning paper says gasoline prices are up yet again, with people in some areas paying well over $2.00 per gallon. I don't much notice such things. I drive an average of perhaps 50 miles per month, so I only need to fill my tank every four to six months. But I can understand why people who do drive a lot are upset.

Barbara thinks the high gas prices are an environmentalist/Politically Correct plot to kill 4X4s, and who's to say she's not right? The environmentalist/PC whackos hate 4X4s, claiming that they're (a) too tall to see over, (b) get low fuel mileage, and (c) have an "unfair" advantage in collisions. My attitude is, so what? With regard to (a) the E/PC whackos never consider that perhaps the problem is not that we're too tall, but that they're too short (didn't Randy Newman write a song about short people having no reason to live?); (b) screw the fuel mileage; and (c) if I'm ever in a major car wreck, being "fair" to the other guy is the least of my concerns. I want to be in the heaviest practical vehicle, surrounded by as much steel as possible. Fully loaded, my 4X4 weighs about 5,500 pounds (2,500 Kg). If the other guy is driving a 1,600 pound econobox, so much the better for me. If he chooses to drive a Styrofoam® car, that's his problem.

Actually, I was in an accident that proves my point. Several years ago, I was driving down Reynolda Road, which has two traffic lanes in each direction, and a central turn lane. Near the light at Fairlawn Drive, that center lane turns into a left turn lane for the protected left turn at the light. I was in the left traffic lane, driving at about 30 MPH (in a 35 MPH zone), with a green light ahead of me. Some guy sitting in a delivery truck in the left turn lane had left about a 50 foot gap between his truck and the car ahead of him, apparently planning to turn left into the bank parking lot instead of turning left at the light. A moronic woman who was sitting in a bank parking lot on the other side of the road decided to take advantage of that gap.

She came roaring out of the parking lot, zoomed through the gap (completely blind), and hung a hard left into my lane. I was less than 30 feet from her when she whipped through the gap. I couldn't see her at all until the nose of her car appeared from in front of the delivery truck. I still have the reaction time of a rattlesnake, so I clamped on the brakes, but the laws of physics prevailed. I rear-ended her and knocked her silly. She slid back into the gap in the center turn lane, struck the back of the car in front of the delivery truck a glancing blow, slid across two lanes of oncoming traffic, jumped the curb while sliding sideways, almost turned over, and ended up sitting in the bank parking lot where she'd started.

I came to a complete stop, picked up my cell phone, and dialed 911, thinking that perhaps she'd been hurt. I was shaken, but not stirred, so I just sat there waiting for the cop to show up. The woman was not only a moron, but a lying moron. When the cop questioned her, she tried to tell him that she'd been minding her own business, driving down the left traffic lane, when I roared up from behind and rear-ended her. Fortunately, both the skid marks and the witnesses confirmed my version of the story.

The interesting thing was the relative amount of damage involved. My truck sustained minor damage. Granted, $2,600 worth, but in absolute terms the damage was just bent sheet-metal, a creased bumper, and a damaged grill and radiator. The entire back end of her car was crushed, and that's not counting the additional damage caused by her car bouncing around like a ping-pong ball. My shoulder harness locked, but I wasn't thrown forward hard enough to cause pain, let alone injury. When two vehicles, one of mass X and one of mass 3X, meet in a semi-inelastic collision, guess which one wins?

In the more isn't always better department, I've noticed a disturbing trend lately. People send me lots of CD-Rs. Because I often receive pre- or early-production samples of various hardware products--video cards, motherboards, and so on--it's quite common for the distribution CD that is to be bundled with the product not to be available yet in final form. And so I get a preliminary version on CD-R. Or one of my friends sends me the latest version of his favorite Linux distribution on CD-R. Or someone sends me a bunch of manuscript text and images on a CD-R.

I get lots and lots of CD-Rs, and I've noticed lately that a lot of them are CDR-80s. As the price of the 80 minute CD-R blanks has dropped, a lot of people apparently figure "why buy a 74-minute CD-R blank, when I can get an 80-minute CD-R blank for about the same price?" Big mistake. Always use the smallest-capacity CD-R blank that your data will fit on. The 80 minute blanks really push the technology. Recording to them is less reliable (they're technically out-of-spec), and read incompatibilities are much more common with the 80 minute blanks. Very few burned CD-Rs use even the full capacity of a CDR-74, so all that using a CDR-80 does is produce a less reliable disc with absolutely no offsetting advantage.

Actually, the truth is that the CDR-74 blanks are themselves less reliable than the late, lamented CDR-63 blanks. If you want to burn the most reliable CD-R possible, use a 63-minute blank. Unfortunately, market forces have just about killed the 63-minute blanks. For a while, they cost the same as CDR-74s, so no one bought them. As demand for CDR-63s dried up, their price began to climb, so that eventually they actually became more expensive than CDR-74s, which sounded their death knell. Right now, I don't know if any major manufacturer still even produces CDR-63 blanks. I hope that cheap 80-minute blanks don't drive CDR-74s out of the market, but I'm afraid they will. And that will be a pity, because CDR-80s simply are not as good as CDR-74s for recording data reliably. More is most definitely not always better.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Huth Mark [mailto:mhuth@the-heartclinic.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2000 2:37 PM
To: 'webmaster@ttgnet.com'
Subject: RE linksys

A follow on to the linksys discussion. Be aware that if you plan to VPN through the linksys, you will have problems. Our network engineer has spent hours in discussion with linksys regarding problems. Linksys is apparently well aware of the difficulties and plan to fix "it" at some point.

Good point. Thanks.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeff Martin [mailto:jemartin25@hotmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2000 3:25 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: Windows 2000 Networking

Hi Mr. Thompson,

I currently have a windows 2000 server and am beginning to figure out how to set it up (the saga begins...). The difficulty I face is that I'd like to use 2000 server to support win9x clients today, and then deploy 2000 specific features like active directory later.

If I was using NT4, I think that your book would answer the questions I have. Do you know of anything like that available now for Win2k? Can win2k even support NT4-style domains (that win2k creates itself: a domain does not currently exist), or am I better off using NT4 server? (My understanding is that win9x clients don't understand active directory...)

The server would be in a small LAN with a linux router, some win9x clients, and perhaps a few more linux/unix boxes down the road.

Unfortunately, I don't yet have enough experience with Windows 2000 Server to feel comfortable offering advice. Perhaps one of my readers will be able to respond helpfully to your question.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Robichaux [mailto:paul@robichaux.net]
Sent: Thu, 22 Jun 2000 07:10:08 -0400 (EDT)
To: Bob Thompson
Subject: Final score: $200M

Now we know what Intel thinks its mobo recall costs: ~ $200 million. See [here].

Handy tip: do not try to simultaneously install 103 Exchange 2000 RC2 servers with a single domain controller. No good will come of it.

Cheers, 
-Paul
--
Paul Robichaux, MCSE | paul@robichaux.net | <http://www.robichaux.net
Robichaux & Associates: programming, writing, teaching, consulting
See http://www.exchangefaq.org for all your Exchange questions!

Thanks. I'm surprised the figure is that low. In fact, I don't believe it. I don't recall the number of boards affected, but I seem to recall that it was on the close order of a million. Assuming that Intel is going to have to buy a million 128 MB Rambus DIMMs, that has to be about $600 million worth right there. Then there's the cost of the dead boards, the incremental cost of replacement boards, fulfillment, and so on. Not to mention third-party boards that were built on the 820 chipset. My guess is that the real, fully-burdened figure is going to be something at least an order of magnitude higher. Or perhaps Intel is assuming that only a fraction of people who have the CC820 and third-party motherboards that use the 820 and the MTH will bother to return them.

 


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Friday, 23 June 2000

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One of the interesting things about writing a book like PC Hardware: The Definitive Guide is that one gets sidetracked. I'll be working on one thing when I get an email or find a web site that has fascinating information about another topic entirely. For example, the other day I was working on the Processors chapter when I came across some some good stuff related to CD-R. Fine. I don't want to lose track of that CD-R information, so that means I need to capture it. My first inclination is always to grab the new information to a file or something, and then return to what I was doing. But that doesn't work very well. I either lose track of the file, forget I had it, or find it but can't remember the thoughts I wanted to capture or how I wanted to go about writing that material. 

So the only solution is to stop what I'm working on and go start working on the new topic. Shifting mental gears can be difficult, but I've found it's the best way not to lose track of stuff I want to capture. Of course, that means I need to have the new topic set up and ready to go. The PC/DG book is based in part on the PC/Nutshell book, so I need to copy chapters over to the directory structure for PC/DG, make the appropriate minor setup modifications to the chapter document structure, and so on. I think I'll do that now wholesale, rather than doing it retail as I have been. That way, the new chapter structure will be in place and waiting for me the next time I need to shift gears. I'd better go do that now.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Hellewell [mailto:rick.hellewell@cityofsacramento.org]
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2000 12:09 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Intel CC820

So, I've got an Intel CC820 board, and my vendor hasn't been able to replace it yet. Should I get the Intel replacement, or go with another board?

Enjoy your notes, some of it I actually understand! (Although I've been using PC's since they started in 1982, I'm just barely getting into Linux. Your notes, and "Syroid Manor" have been useful. Thanx for spending the time.)

Rick...

Rick Hellewell
Advanced Solutions Group
Senior Network Dweeb
Public Works Dept
City of Sacramento
916-264-6846
rhellewell@cityofsacramento.org

Well, you definitely don't want the CC820, but the VC820 is a good board. I'd say it all comes down to how much memory you need. Intel is replacing the CC820 with a VC820 "Vancouver" and 128 MB of Rambus memory. If 128 MB is enough for your needs, and if you can get PC800 Rambus (as opposed to PC700 or PC600), the VC820 is a very fast, very stable board. The problem is, Intel is planning to ship PC800 and PC700 Rambus as though they were interchangeable, but using PC700 in a VC820 exacts severe performance penalties, or so I've been told. All the testing I've done with the VC820 has been with PC800 memory, but numerous web sites have tested with different Rambus speeds and reported significant performance variations between speeds.

There are a couple of developing issues that impact all of this:

First, Intel will shortly be shipping in volume motherboards based on the 815 and 815E (Solano and Solano II) chipsets. I haven't seen one yet, but the Solano/Solano II appears to be everything that the 820 should have been, and it supports PC133 SDRAM natively. I have an Intel Easton/D815EEA motherboard on the way in. It should show up in the next couple of weeks. It's so new that it's not even up on the Intel web site yet, but my guess is that it will be a worthy successor to the 440BX-based motherboards.

Second, Rambus memory may have returned from the dead. The major problem with Rambus all along was its hideously high price--five or eight times that of equivalent SDRAM. It appears that Rambus may have found a solution to that problem. Not by cutting the price of Rambus memory, oh no. By forcing SDRAM to cost more. Toshiba recently caved in to Rambus's demands to pay a license fee for SDRAM. Hitachi was in court challenging Rambus's patents which were the basis for their trying to charge a license fee for SDRAM technology, but Hitachi wants to sell their memory business to NEC, and so caved in yesterday to Rambus's demands. In their suit, Hitachi had basically claimed that a bunch of memory manufacturers got together to share technology freely with the intent of developing better, faster, cheaper memory. Rambus was one of the participants. According to Hitachi, Rambus turned around and filed patent applications on some of the information that had been freely shared by other memory manufacturers. If that's true, I hope the courts disembowel Rambus, although that's not likely now that Hitach has dropped its suit. The upshot is that Rambus announced that they'll be charging higher license fees for SDRAM than for RDRAM, making Rambus memory more competitive price-wise because the price of SDRAM has been artificially inflated.

So the short answer is that I don't know what I'd do at the moment. The Vancouver is a good board, and the Easton is likely to be. There are any number of good third-party motherboards out there, too, some based on the 440BX and others on the VIA ApolloPro133/133A. On balance, if I had to make a decision now, I'd probably take Intel's offer of the Vancouver board with 128 MB of memory.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Roger G. Smith [mailto:rgsmith@c-gate.net]
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2000 12:07 PM
To: Robert Bruce Thompson
Subject: Upgrading and Repairing PCs, Linux Edition

Tell me they're kidding! (and *only* $47.99 plus freight at Amazon dot com)

No, they're serious. It's called repackaging. "How can we sell more copies of Upgrading and Repairing PCs without putting much more work into it?" The obvious answer was to slap "Linux" on the front, make some minor changes and adds to justify the Linux moniker. One of the reader reviews got it about right, saying that there wasn't much new there, that if you had the regular version not to bother buying this version, but if you ran Linux and didn't have the regular version this version might be worth buying. Their cunning plan obviously isn't working too well. When I checked Amazon just now, that book had a rank of 185,189, which means it's selling one copy every blue moon or so.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Jan Swijsen [mailto:qjsw@oce.nl]
Sent: Friday, June 23, 2000 8:11 AM
To: Robert Bruce Thompson
Subject: car rant.

Petrol here (Belgium) is close to $2 per litre. I use diesel (gasoline) which is about $1.5 per litre. And don't ask Moshe. So your american prices still have some catching up to do :-)

The high price here is indeed (partially) and publicly admitted advocated by the greens. (It was about this high even before the greens entered government). Their reasoning is that we have tried almost everything to get the traffic jam problem under control. Adding new roads or widening existing ones does no solve the problem. Anyway, there is no place to build new roads anymore. The only thing that can help is by reducing the number of cars. There have been campaigns to promote car-pooling and campaigns to promote the use of public transport. All to no avail. People only react when there is money involved. In stead of subsidizing car-pooling and public transport the idea is that by making it to expensive people will leave their car at home. Good idea if it worked. Alas it doesn't (yet). So we get high prices AND traffic jams.

<quote>(b) screw the fuel mileage; <quote>

Why? I do drive just over 1000Km per week. The advantage of a good fuel mileage (I averages 7.0l/100Km) is that I have to refuel only once a week. A colleague of me refuels three times a week. He has a company car so he doesn't care about the price at all but he does care about the inconvenience.

What is not fair (here in Belgium, don't know over there) with big, heavy cars is that the insurance (and tax) is based on engine size not on weight. This means that the big, heavy cars cause more damage and yet don't pay more insurance. (ps In the Netherlands insurance (and tax) is based on weight.)

There is an unlucky side effect with big cars. I know that heavy cars are more () secure than lighter ones. But that is only for the person in it.

<rant> First of I think that the bull bar and brush guard and other extraneous stuff, mostly found on 4x4's but also cropping up on other cars, should be forbidden or classified as weapons. At least for vehicles used in populated areas.

Maybe I am biased but I worked in an ambulance service for some months (student job while at univ) and you do see the difference in injuries. And it is not nice.

A normal car is designed to absorb (by crumpling up) the impact energy of an accident. When you hit a pedestrian at slow speed (10/15 Km/h, for example after braking hard) you may break a few bones. When you hit the same person, at the same speed but with a bull bar fitted you don't break the bones but you splinter them. Even a light accident can cause lasting disabilities or death.

The death rate among pedestrians and bicycle riders injured in accidents with normal cars compared to those with such external stuff is remarkable.

Years ago Jaguar and Mercedes and Rolls (and some others) had to make sure their idols, originally on the radiator top, were pedestrian safe (either soft or easily snapped off). Manufacturers are required to make their rear-view mirrors save in accidents. The same ruling should be applied to other extra stuff. </rant>

<quote> she tried to tell him that she'd been minding her own business, driving down the left traffic lane, when I roared up from behind and rear-ended her. </quote>

<alternative version>Well she was not lying. She was minding her own business ("and screw all the other"), and driving down ("to") the left lane. And after all did hit her rear end. </alternative version>

The biggest problem with heavy and especially big cars like 4x4's is that they give their drivers a feeling of invulnerability and superiority. While some drivers can cope with it some start to behave irresponsible. Ignoring traffic signs and taking other liberties with the law. Even ignoring other traffic, the "the other sod cannot do me any harm so why should I look" type of driving. (Your accident does prove that the problem is with drives, not cars. It is like the gun debate. Some abusers are pulling a bad reputation over a whole, mostly innocent group.

<next topic>

<quote>Intel is going to have to buy a million 128 MB Rambus DIMMs, that has to be about $600 million worth right there.</quote>

I am not sure Intel will pay full retail price for its memory. And if you take the actual cost of the board, removing all profit margins and tax supplements the actual cost of replacing drops dramatically. Maybe not down to 200M.

<note>Hmm, I think I have been typing too much XML code lately </note>

&lt;Grin&gt;

--
Svenson.
Mail at work : qjsw@oce.nl,
or call : (Oce HQ)-4727
Mail at home : sjon@svenson.com

Well, as far as gasoline prices and mileage, we're obviously talking apples and oranges. Most of what you pay for a litre of petrol is in taxes, whereas most of what we pay for a gallon of gasoline is in the cost of the petroleum itself. Also, there is a huge difference in scale. Americans who first visit Europe are always surprised at how small and close together everything is, while Europeans who first visit the U.S. are always surprised at how big and far apart everything is. I live in a relatively small Eastern state, North Carolina (48,718 square miles/126,179 square kilometers), which is itself roughly the size of England (50,363 square miles/130,439 square kilometers), and more than four times the size of Belgium (11,781 square miles/30,513 square kilometers). Large Western states (Texas, at 261,914 square miles/ 678,351 square kilometers) or Alaska (570,373 square miles/1,477,253 square kilometers) are as large or larger than Europe itself. Residents of many of these large, sparsely populated Western states often think nothing of driving (or flying) hundreds of miles to shop or attend the cinema. Weekly round-trip commutes of 500 miles are commonplace here, and I know more than a few people who do 1,000 miles or more. So the price of gasoline here is perhaps a more important factor than in Europe.

As far as weight and equipment of vehicles, I'd never install anything with the intention of injuring someone in an accident, but neither would I be too concerned about the side effects on a stranger of installing something that pertained to my own safety or that of my family. I remember reading years ago about the horrific results of a head-on collision between two vehicles, each with several passengers, all of whom were killed. A witness said that one of the drivers had a chance to avoid the collision and had actually started to swerve out of the path of the other car. He swerved back, though, because the course he was taking to avoid the head-on collision would have caused him to strike and kill a pedestrian. Far better if he'd followed his original intention. There would have been one dead pedestrian, sure, but the several children who died in the wreck would have survived, as would their parents. The lessons I took away from reading that article were (a) avoid a head-on collision at all costs, including running down pedestrian(s) or bicyclists, and (b) avoid being a pedestrian or bicyclist near high-speed vehicular traffic.

 


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Saturday, 24 June 2000

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There's something I find very annoying about the PC hardware web sites. If PCs were cars, these sites would review only Mercedes's, Ferraris, and Rolls-Royces. To look at them, you'd never know that Ford or Toyota or Volvo even made cars. Same thing for components. Not everyone needs the latest super-overclockable motherboard or 1 GHz processor or 1.6 GigaTexel video card. And certainly not everyone wants to pay for it.

Case in point. Periodically, the Fairy Godmother waves her magic wand and FedEx shows up at my door with something I hadn't even asked for. Yesterday, FedEx showed up with a box for me from Intel. A couple days ago, I'd asked one of my contacts at Intel to send me one of the new D815EEA "Easton" motherboards, which uses Intel's Great White Hope, the Solano chipset. My contact told me that Eastons were thin on the ground, but he'd get one to me as soon as he could. He said it'd probably be a couple of weeks before I got it. So I was very surprised to see FedEx show up with an Intel box yesterday. 

As it turned out, it wasn't the Easton after all. It was the D810EMO (AKA MO810E), a new FlexATX motherboard designed for entry-level systems. Once you get over the small size--the box looks more like one for an expansion card than a motherboard--this is one nice-looking little motherboard. I expected to find reviews of the D810EMO at AnandTech, Tom's Hardware, BXBoards, or one of the other hardware sites, but I couldn't find any mention of it at all. Then it struck me. The D810EMO has a four-cylinder engine instead of a V12, so it's clearly beneath the contempt of the hardware sites. 

Why? This motherboard certainly isn't one I'd use for one of my personal systems, and I suspect the same is true for most of my readers, as well as for most of the readers of Anand, Tom, and the others. But most of us have parents or sisters or brothers-in-law or girlfriends or pets that we build or upgrade systems for, right? So do most of the readers of Anand, Tom, and the others. And yet products like the D810EMO seldom get so much as a brief mention on any major hardware site. The message I get from that is if you don't overclock and spend most of your time playing Quake, you aren't worth talking to. And that's a load of crap.

Surely many of the same issues are as important to people who want an entry-level or mid-range system as to those who want a top-end barn-burner for games? Stability, construction quality, even performance, all of these count for entry-level systems, too. But products like the D810EMO are entirely ignored. I guess it is kind of laughable from Anand's and Tom's point of view. I mean, the board has only one DIMM socket and one PCI expansion slot. Who could take a board like that seriously?

How about your parents or sister or brother-in-law or girlfriend or pet? They don't care how many slots it has. All they want is a reliable, high-quality product for a low price. And it looks like Intel is aiming the D810EMO straight at that (rather sizable) market segment. On the plus side, the D810EMO comes with 810E graphics (very good 2D performance and text quality; usable 3D performance); four (!) USB ports, two on the back and two that connect to a front panel port; Creative SoundBlaster PCI 128 audio (with a front-panel audio jack); and an embedded 10/100 Intel Ethernet adapter for those with cable modems or ADSL. The FlexATX form factor is also significant. This board is designed to be used in a tiny system, one that will run almost inaudibly, consume very little power, and generate very little heat. Exactly what most civilians are looking for, in other words.

All of this is speculative on my part. I haven't even fired up the motherboard. It could even be a dog (although looking at the board I think it rather more likely that it's an excellent product). But the point is, if I wait for Anand or Tom to tell me, I'll be waiting a long time. So I think I'll build a project system around this motherboard. Goal: as inexpensive as possible a system while still using top-grade components. I already have the motherboard. Kingston is sending me some eval memory. I've set aside an FC-PGA Pentium III/600 processor, a Seagate U10 hard drive, a Plextor 8/4/32A CD-RW drive, an Actiontec 56KB call-waiting USB modem, and a Microsoft keyboard and mouse. All I lack is a case. Well, I have plenty of cases, and although this motherboard will fit a standard ATX case, it seems a shame to install it in a mid-tower case with a 300W power supply. I may do that anyway just to get it running. Neither Antec nor PC Power & Cooling--my two usual choices in cases--makes a FlexATX case. I wonder who makes a good one?

You might have noticed I neglected to mention a floppy drive. No mistake there. Welcome to the new world of "legacy-reduced", which means the motherboard doesn't support legacy devices like floppy disk drives, parallel ports, PS/2 keyboards and mice, and so on. Interestingly, Intel does include one "legacy" device, a single serial port. Obviously, there are a lot of PalmPilot users out there, and they have to have somewhere to attach their sync cradles. 

A system using this motherboard is intended to boot from the CD-ROM drive and have all devices connected to it via USB. It appears that with Windows 98 available, Intel considers pure USB a viable choice. I'm not so sure about that, but I have the means to find out. Intel is careful to note that this motherboard is intended only for systems that run USB-capable OSs. They specifically mention Windows 98 but not Windows 2000. I'll probably try both.

Network Solutions really pisses me off. I speculated earlier that perhaps they were selling the records in their whois database to spammers, and now I notice that they admit that they're doing just that. They kindly offer you the opportunity to opt out (although if there should ever be an opt-in situation, this is it) but they make it very hard to do so. Searching the site for "opt-out", "optout", and similar terms turns up only one page, their so-called privacy page, which is a joke. Supposedly, you can send an email to privacy@networksolutions.com listing the domains for which you are the registrant and for which you want to opt-out. Nowhere that I can find do they provide a means for not having your contact record sold to spammers. But I decided to use their email opt-out method anyway, listing the ttgnet.com domain. I sent email per their instructions last night, and here's what showed up this morning:

**********************************************
** THIS IS A WARNING MESSAGE ONLY **
** YOU DO NOT NEED TO RESEND YOUR MESSAGE **
**********************************************

The original message was received at Fri, 23 Jun 2000 22:08:00 -0400 (EDT)
from bipmx2.lb.internic.net [192.168.120.15]

----- The following addresses had transient non-fatal errors -----
privacy@netsol-nic-ex02.prod.netsol.com
(expanded from: <privacy@networksolutions.com>)

----- Transcript of session follows -----
privacy@netsol-nic-ex02.prod.netsol.com... Deferred: Connection refused by netsol-nic-ex02.prod.netsol.com.
Warning: message still undelivered after 4 hours
Will keep trying until message is 5 days old

Network Solutions must be destroyed. If we must have a central registry, as it appears we must, that registry should be a non-profit organization with strict controls on how much they can charge, what they can do with the information we provide them, staffing levels and pay scales, and so on. It should not be under the control of any one government, and it certainly should not be under the control of any one private corporation. ICANN may be a good candidate to run the registry.

There's mail, but I'm out of time.

 


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Sunday, 25 June 2000

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Although I run reports based on my raw web logs every week, I don't usually spend much time looking at them, except in very broad terms to see how the traffic is doing. Until recently, I'd been running the reports with DNS lookups turned off, which meant that the raw hits were identified only by IP address rather than domain or location. For those I ran yesterday, I used the QuickDNS add-on for Analog, which makes using DNS lookups a lot less time-consuming.

Here are the top 50 domains from which my traffic originated last week. As you might expect, a lot of the traffic came from the standard InterNIC top-level domains (except .NATO and .INT, from which I get very little traffic for some reason). Also not surprising is that that group is followed by a cluster of Western European countries, including Scandinavia (but what happened to Norway? It's way down the list somewhere with Cuba, Ecuador, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka). I was surprised, however, by how many hits I'm getting from nations where I'd expect to have few or no readers. As my traffic picks up--I'm getting 2,000 or more page reads on busy days now--it's interesting to see where some of that additional traffic is coming from. 

.com (Commercial)
.net (Network)
.edu (USA Educational)
.au (Australia)
.ca (Canada)
.uk (United Kingdom)
.mil (USA Military)
.us (United States)
.org (Non-Profit Making Organisations)
.de (Germany)
.nl (Netherlands)
.gov (USA Government)
.ch (Switzerland)
.pt (Portugal)
.fr (France)
.be (Belgium)
.it (Italy)
.nz (New Zealand)
.fi (Finland)
.se (Sweden)
.mx (Mexico)
.es (Spain)
.ie (Ireland)
.jp (Japan)
.pl (Poland)
.br (Brazil)
.in (India)
.za (South Africa)
.dk (Denmark)
.tt (Trinidad and Tobago)
.sg (Singapore)
.ar (Argentina)
.il (Israel)
.at (Austria)
.hu (Hungary)
.bg (Bulgaria)
.lu (Luxembourg)
.is (Iceland)
.cz (Czech Republic)
.ru (Russia)
.ee (Estonia)
.ro (Romania)
.gr (Greece)
.tw (Taiwan)
.pk (Pakistan)
.sk (Slovak Republic)
.my (Malaysia)
.cl (Chile)
.ve (Venezuela)
.uy (Uruguay)

The really interesting thing is the number of hits I get from countries that I didn't even realize were countries. Here are a round dozen of those:

.ck (Cook Islands)
.mn (Mongolia)
.pf (Polynesia (French))
.ge (Georgia)
.cx (Christmas Island)
.nu (Niue)
.cc (Cocos (Keeling) Islands)
.mu (Mauritius)
.fo (Faroe Islands)
.nf (Norfolk Island)
.bf (Burkina Faso)

Not to mention a few that aren't there any more. I still get hits, for example, from .su (the former Soviet Union). I remember back in my ham radio days there were awards for WAS (worked all states), WAC (worked all countries), and so on. Some poor guy would come up on a station in Antarctica and immediately get hammered by people all over the world looking for a QSL from that hardest-to-work continent. I don't know how many countries there are nowadays, but if I haven't already "worked all" with my web site, I must be pretty close. This is fun.

* * * * *

-----Original Message-----
From: Bo Leuf [mailto:bo@leuf.com]
Sent: Saturday, June 24, 2000 8:33 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Cc: sjon@svenson.com
Subject: invulnerability

You quoted Jan Swijsen as saying...

> The biggest problem with heavy and especially big cars like 4x4's is > that they give their drivers a feeling of invulnerability and > superiority.

There is a point to that. Some of the more obnoxious drivers around here are those that drive older Mercedes tanks. Rusty and buckled, they don't care about another scratch or two...

I think a couple of years ago I read an amusing article from California lambasting bad driving habits in general, including so called volvo-drivers. The term was generic about a particular driving style, albeit often seen in drivers of Volvo cars. http://www.caldrive.com/habits.html -- I'll quote the relevant part...

"Volvo Drivers. There's a well-known theory around these parts (also heard on PBS's Cartalk program) that bad drivers gravitate towards Volvos because of the extra safety the average Volvo gives such a driver (why not kill someone else when you drive badly -- much better than killing yourself...). So the term "Volvo Driver" has come to stand for a mixture of obliviousness, self-righteousness, smugness, and arrogance that seems to come naturally to these drivers."

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

We have the same situation over here, except that it's mostly "soccer moms" driving mini-vans. I was behind one of them one time and watched her turn around to yell at the kids, still talking on her cell phone, all as her minivan continued down the road at 45 or 50 MPH without guidance. Of course, most women are rotten drivers anyway. Even Barbara comments on the general tendency among women drivers to drive slowly but refuse to allow anyone to pass them. But what I really dread is an elderly man wearing a hat and driving a older model large American car.

 


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