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Daynotes Journal

Week of 16 October 2000

Friday, 05 July 2002 08:22

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


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Order PC Hardware in a Nutshell from Fatbrain.com

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Monday, 16 October 2000

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Thanks to everyone who's already bought a copy of our latest book, PC Hardware in a Nutshell. If you haven't ordered a copy yet, why not click the link and do so now? Thanks.


Dentist appointment this morning. Ugh. More later.

Later: Back from the dentist. Normal cleaning. They didn't have to use the UTD (Ultrasound Torture Device). That's that until next April 18th. I should have made my six-month appointment for April 15th so I could have gotten it and taxes all over in one day.

Our SETI@Home group now has 68 members (including several new members who have joined with a substantial number of existing work units) and more than 20,200 work units complete. Congratulations to team members Peter Bruno, who recently passed the 500 work unit milestone; Michael Dugan, who recently passed the 250 work unit milestone; Randall Sluder, Larry See, johnny5, Rick, JohnN, Jowitu, Edmund Hack, Robin Whitson, bas, Mike, and Jonathan Hassell, who recently passed the 100 work unit milestone; and Bob Olsen, njharris, Steven, David Reiss, mboyle5627, Ryszard, dschnebly, Talar, and Kerry Liles, who recently passed the 50 work unit milestone. If you haven't joined our SETI effort, please do. Here's how. 

I have to say that I'm very displeased with the Fatbrain affiliate program. My stats page for Fatbrain orders does not show visits that I know have occurred and orders that I know have been placed. I've contacted Fatbrain repeatedly. Each time, I provide the order numbers for orders that they didn't credit to me, and each time they say that they've entered credit for those orders manually based on my message. But that begs the question, what about orders that I don't know about? 

I know orders are not being credited. I just ordered several books from Fatbrain last week, and that order didn't show up. Readers of this site are forwarding me copies of their Fatbrain order numbers, and those orders haven't shown up either. At this point, I have no confidence that Fatbrain is crediting the commission I've earned on a sale unless I just happen to find out about that sale myself and point it out to them. It's not worth my time to pursue this for the few dollars involved, but it certainly is aggravating.

I won't even buy books from Amazon.com, so I certainly wouldn't consider using their affiliate program. There's B&N, but they now own Fatbrain, and their program (particularly their execution of it) may not be any better. Perhaps I'll look around for another affiliate program, or perhaps I'll just let it drop and simply encourage people to buy the book. It's not worth much of my time for the few dollars it brings in, that's for sure.


-----Original Message-----
From: Alan Donders [mailto:alan_donders@hotmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 14, 2000 11:12 AM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Mouse For Laptop

Bob,

Try one of the M/S optical mouses for your laptop - you can use them on the arm of a sofa or even on the leg of your pants.

Thanks. I've already tried my IntelliMouse Explorer (the big, 5-button, "redlight" mouse) and it works fine. Strangely, the pad is not 100% disabled, but only about 99%. I can still generate pointer movement by rubbing my finger vigorously on it. But to all intents and purposes, it is disabled, and the system works fine with the redlight mouse.


-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Boyle [mailto:mboyle@buckeye-express.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 14, 2000 12:30 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: laptops and rodents

Robert

I use a USB mouse (intellieye) whenever possible. The only problem with USB is it leaves the pad active. I am going to try to find the serial adapter that came with the mouse and use it. When you use a serial mouse the pad is inactive. At least on my Gateway.

Mike Boyle
mboyle@buckeye-express.com

Thanks. I may give USB a shot. I've been using my IntelliMouse Explorer, which is natively a USB mouse, but has a PS/2 adapter connected to it. It'd be easy enough to plug it in as a USB mouse and see what happens.


-----Original Message-----
From: Don Armstrong [mailto:darmst@yahoo.com.au]
Sent: Sunday, October 15, 2000 6:44 AM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: "How often do you visit this web site"

Just as a comment, while I have registered a vote for daily visits to your web site (and most/many of the other daynoters), and aim to do it, the daily may be only running synchronise from IE some days, on the theory that when I can find the time to catch up I want to have the latest available with which to do so. There are days, damnit, when I just can't get around to reading those synchronised pages or sites; and I suspect there are quite a few others who will be doing the same.

I'm sure you're right. I have several hundred responses now. They're still weighted heavily to daily visits, but the less frequent visitors are starting to register votes now. I'm not really looking for anything definitive, but just to get an idea of how people use the site.


-----Original Message-----
From: David Cefai [mailto:davcefai@keyworld.net]
Sent: Sunday, October 15, 2000 5:48 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Poisoners

Robert,

You might enjoy "They Hanged My Saintly Billy" by Robert Graves - the author of "I Claudius".

It is the story of William Palmer, hanged for poisoning offences in 1856. (Graves believes Palmer was innocent)

Keep up the good page!

I think I've heard of that (the case, not the book). I'll ask Barbara to find the book for me. We may already have it. We have a bunch of his. Thanks for the kind words.

 


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Tuesday, 17 October 2000

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I've gotten several private emails asking why I haven't commented on the mess in the Middle East. The simple answer is that I don't know enough about the problem to have an opinion, and I don't think that uninformed speculation about possible solutions contributes anything. It's easy enough to deplore the deaths of young Palestinians and Israelis, and to suggest that Something Must Be Done. But it's not at all clear to me that there is anything to be done. Not all questions have answers, and not all problems have solutions. I'm afraid that may be the case here.

Unlike most Americans, my sympathies have always been with the Palestinians. Not on the basis of their membership in a group, which is after all a wholly artificial construct, but on the basis of what was done to them as individuals. The Israelis' claim to lands based on the fact that their distant ancestors lived there 2,000 years ago has always seemed to me a dubious justification for ejecting people whose own ancestors had lived on those same lands for scores of generations. If the Palestinians regard the Israelis as invaders, occupiers, thieves, and murderers, well it seems to me that any reasonable man would agree that the Palestinians have a great deal of justification for taking that position. 

What if the UN decided that American Indians should have a homeland, and that North Carolina and South Carolina was to be that homeland? If an armed force of American Indians showed up tomorrow, ejected me and all of my neighbors from our homes, and resettled Indian civilians in those homes, my neighbors and I would be pretty upset, too. Upset enough, in fact, that we'd fight back. Upset enough that our children and our children's children would carry on the struggle to reclaim what had been ours and had been stolen from us at the point of a gun.

Before long, the Carolinian issue would become a nagging problem. Without doubt, a Yassir Arafat would soon arise to form a rallying point for resistance against the occupiers. We Carolinians wouldn't have much to fight with, so we'd use the traditional methods that a weak indigenous resistance is forced to use against a strong occupier. People in Georgia and Virginia who sympathized with us would provide aid in the form of materiel and moral support. Somehow, we'd come up with guns and explosives to fight the occupiers. If you sympathize with the occupiers, you'd call us terrorists. If you sympathize with us, you'd call us freedom fighters. But it all comes down to the same thing. Bombs and ambushes, and the slaughter of innocents.

All of that said, I have a great deal of sympathy for the Israelis as well. I have known a few Israelis, and I've liked all of them personally. As individuals, most Israelis are probably pretty nice people. But as defenders of their homeland, they can't afford to be. Israel has something like 0.1% of the land in the Middle East, and for them giving ground is not an option. In effect, the Israelis established a beachhead, literally, in 1948, and have never significantly expanded it. I used to commute every day from Winston-Salem to Greensboro. More than once while doing that, the thought occurred to me that during my morning commute I was driving a greater distance than the entire width of Israel from sea to border.

The danger of having their country overrun and their people slaughtered must always be in the back of an Israeli's mind. It certainly would be in mine. The Arabs have immensely greater resources--in land, people, and materiel--than do the Israelis. The Arabs can afford to launch repeated attacks on the Israelis. If an attack fails, well there's always next year. The Israelis have no such luxury. In defending, they have no option but to win, every time. If they lose, even once, they're overrun and Israel ceases to exist as a nation. And every Israeli defending his homeland knows that he is ultimately defending the very lives of his wife and children. Under those conditions, I would also shoot first and ask questions later, as would any reasonable man.

For Israel, the situation is further complicated by their dependence on the US. Israel cannot survive without US support. Without US support, both politically and in terms of materiel, Israel would almost certainly have been overrun on at least one occasion. But that support comes at a price, that being that Israel cannot afford to offend US sensibilities. If you doubt that, consider Israel's inaction when Saddam Hussein was dropping Scuds on them during Desert Storm. No one can seriously doubt that Israel would have massively retaliated had the US not restrained them from doing so. Were Israel not so dependent on the US, they would likely long ago have ejected all Arabs from Israel proper, invaded neighboring states to create large buffer zones against Arab attacks, and taken other measures to improve their security. Or so I believe. That's certainly what I would have done.

So Israel finds itself literally under the gun, dependent on the somewhat fickle support of the US, unable to take many desirable measures to increase its security, and constantly faced with the prospect of an Arab attack that could wipe Israel from the map and result in the deaths of huge numbers of innocent Israeli women and children. Under those conditions, what is surprising is not that Israel sometimes responds with a heavy hand, but that they show as much restraint as they usually do.

Ultimately, all of this shows the fatal flaws in the concept of multiculturalism. Places in which the culture is effectively monolithic have no such problems. Places in which multiple cultures vie for dominance are plagued by terrorism, civil war, and chaos. So why do our government and our schools celebrate multiculturalism? Are the kinds of things that happen in the Middle East (or the Balkans, or any number of other multicultural places) what they want to see happening here?

 


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Wednesday, 18 October 2000

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I've been doing heads-down chapter work lately, so I find that I don't have much to talk about today. Fortunately, my essay yesterday drew lots of responses, some of which I've posted below.

I did get some interesting data points about how availability impacts sales. Last weekend, Amazon was showing PC Hardware in a Nutshell as "usually ships within 24 hours" and the book climbed to about 1,000 in the Amazon rankings. Monday, they changed availability to "1 to 2 weeks" and the ranking started to slide, dropping into the 6,000 range. Yesterday, they again changed availability to "3 to 5 weeks", and the ranking plummetted, down to something like 30,000 as of this morning. Now they're showing "1 to 2 weeks" again, so perhaps it'll start to climb. I'm not sure why they have availability bouncing all over the place, because the book is in fact available. I have a copy on my desk. It hit the warehouses on or before the scheduled 10/10 date, and should be available anywhere by now.


-----Original Message-----
From: fog34cat@verizon.net [mailto:fog34cat@verizon.net]
Sent: Monday, October 16, 1995 2:49 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: CD R/W Drives

Hi, Could you advise me on what the best R/W drive there is for my Aptiva? The current CD/ROM is DVD and I'd like to buy and install a R/W drive due to too many ..mp3 files on my HD. Do I need a SCSI card, and how can I check or confirm my PC has it or not?

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Lee

No, you don't need a SCSI card. The best CD-RW drive currently on the market is the Plextor 12/10/32A, which is an ATAPI (IDE) model. With some careful shopping, you can pick one up for about $250. There are less expensive drives available, but the Plextor 12/10/32A is worth the cost. In includes BURN-Proof support, which makes it nearly impossible to make a coaster. If I were buying a CD-RW drive right now, I wouldn't even consider buying anything else.


-----Original Message-----
From: Miguel Bazdresch [mailto:mbazdresch@excite.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 7:51 AM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Online bookstore

Bob,

Regarding your online bookstore troubles: have you considered Powell's City of Books? It's my favorite brick-and-mortar bookstore, and they might have better deals that Fatbrain. They're at http://www.powells.com/

Thanks. My problem is that I've purchased many, many books over the years from Amazon, B&N, and Fatbrain, so I know them. Although earning a commission on sales is a nice side benefit, my main concern is that my readers get the book from somewhere that has good prices and reliable service. Right now, if I were ordering a book myself, I'd order it from Fatbrain. So I can't very well recommend that my readers buy the book from some other vendor simply because that other vendor pays higher commission rates or whatever. Last week, I bought Scott Mueller's Upgrading and Repairing PCs 12th Edition from Fatbrain. (must keep an eye on the competition) Fatbrain charged $35 for it. Amazon and B&N wanted $40, and Powell's wants $50. So I'll continue to use and recommend Fatbrain, although when it comes to administering their affiliate commissions Fathead would be a better name for them.


-----Original Message-----
From: Sjon Svenson [mailto:sjon@svenson.com]
Sent: Monday, October 16, 2000 1:18 PM
To: Robert Thompson
Subject: dentist

>Dentist appointment this morning. Ugh. More later. More dentist appointments later you mean? Oh dear.

My 2c about touch pads, erasor-sticks, mice and other beasts. Maybe the Compaq touch pads are special but I haven't used a touch pad that I have been conformable with. I invariably get into problems that I select or unselect something when I just want to move the cursor. Using spin-buttons is all but impossible with most pads.

The advantage of the older IBM erasor sticks (don't know about the newer ones) was that the action for moving the cursor and performing a click are very distinctive.

The best built-in pointing device I had was a small trackball in the Mitac (486).

Still, I always take a mouse along when I have to use a notebook.

--

Svenson.
Mail : sjon@svenson.com
Site : www.sjonsvenson.com
(work: qjsw@oce.nl home2 : jan@swijsen.com)

Actually I meant more morning later. As far as the Compaq touchpad, I don't have many problems using it, although a regular mouse is more convenient. So I'll carry an MS Optical Mouse, which works fine.


-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Hellewell [mailto:rhellewell@cityofsacramento.org]
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 6:10 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Folding@Home

I've decided to 'run' with the "Folding@Home" project, rather than SETI. Although I only have 2 units done (just started today), I'd be willing to transfer them to a "daynotes" group, if the daynotes gang is inclined to start one.

Here's the link (which I found on Dr. Pournelle's pages): 

Enjoy your notes...am a daily visitor.

Thanks for the kind words. I went over last night and looked at the Folding@home project, thinking that perhaps I'd get a machine or two working on it. I downloaded the GUI version of the client, which unfortunately doesn't work with a firewall. I suppose if I get a spare moment I'll download the CLI version, which does support firewalls. I do disagree a bit with Dr. Pournelle about the expected value of these two projects. Whereas he rates the value of success in SETI as high and the probability of success low and the value of FOLDING as high with a high probability of success, I'd rate SETI as extremely high/very low and FOLDING as high/high. So participating in SETI is basically like playing the lottery. You plunk down your dollar knowing that the odds are extremely high you'll never see any payback from it. But you also know that you have a tiny chance of gaining a huge payback. So FOLDING may in fact be a better use of spare CPU ticks, in the sense that the expected value is higher. Perhaps I should set up a Daynotes Group for FOLDING so people can join either group if they're so inclined.


And a bunch of responses to my essay yesterday. Here are a selection:

-----Original Message-----
From: Kerry Liles [kerryliles@ home.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 10:57 AM
To: 'webmaster@ttgnet.com'
Subject: Israel and the current conflict.

I've just read your Tuesday morning piece about the current situation in Middle East at the same time as noting that CNN reports that there has been a self-imposed curtailing of action by both sides. One wonders how long that will last? Probably until Clinton arrives back in Washington... I think you have stated the situation as clearly as any other commentator I have read. I know as much about the situation as you do (that is, not much except observation safely from afar). I have many Israeli friends and many friends who are Arab descent too. People on an individual basis are almost always decent and reasonable (there are exceptions, but that is statistical mumbo-jumbo).

When people gather as a crowd, there is trouble. I think that there is not sufficient popular will for peace in the Middle East; nearly every group (and there are many - with more being formed every day) is willing to have peace as long as their demands are met. There is no conciliation. There is no slack given, but much taken.

Canada has tried for many years to be an example of Multiculturism that works; I am afraid that it might just be a public relations exercise: we have conflicts here too, but certainly not on the same scale. Perhaps having more space geographically allows people to interact less often and remain neutral.

I think you might have been right at the outset: some problems do not have solutions; some questions do not have answers. There are few - if any - examples of two peoples who have been at war for generations who actually reconcile their differences. I cannot easily think of an example... It is sad to take that as the best that mankind has to offer.

I hope they resolve their differences, but I think Clinton was correct to have high hopes but low expectations... The scary thing is that *his* hopes and expectations might well be much higher than any of the participants (his certainly exceed mine).


-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck Waggoner [waggoner at gis dot net]
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 10:41 AM
To: Robert Bruce Thompson (E-mail)
Subject: Good Essay!

Several times during my TV career, I've been forced to produce programs that celebrate multiculturalism. That has always seemed dangerous to me--even inviting an unhealthy regard of "separateness".

It does make for wonderful restaurants, however. We have nearly every conceivable type of ethnic food available here in Boston. And making the rounds is a gourmand's delight!


-----Original Message-----
From: Tim Nance [mailto:tim@nancepub.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 12:44 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Mid-East Treatise

A very balanced treatise on the situation in Israel. Wise too in that not assuming there are any easy answers, nor probably hard ones.

But as analogies often do, your Carolina analogy breaks down somewhat among the varied differences between the various nations that make up the group we label for convenience "American Indians" and the Jewish people. In fact, such a juxtaposition would merit closer study.

However, the genius of your analysis lies in your deconstruction of emotional hype resulting in a clearer perspective of each side's pathos. There may be no answers, but without understanding, or even feeling, the emotional issues of the parties involved the very prospect of living together, if not reconciliation, would be impossible.

Good job, sir.

Tim Nance
Nance Publishing
tim@nancepub.com
www.nancepub.com
Your Eye on all that Matters to You -- www.iconzine.com


-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Smith [mailto:pasmith@wbmpl.com.au]
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 11:32 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Multiculturalism

Hello Robert,

Your piece on the Israel/Palestine business was very effective. Thankyou for that. Just one thing -

We have one, small world.

It is irretrievably multicultural.

We have to make it work.

Multiculturalism is not about making it work. Multiculturalism is about breaking what already works and about driving wedges between people. There is nothing admirable about multiculturalism. It is just one more evil part of the Politically Correct movement, which movement seeks to destroy whatever it touches.


-----Original Message-----
From: The Bierbaums
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 4:02 PM
To: anonymous@ttgnet.com
Subject: Rambling thoughts on MultiCulturalism. (don't show e-mail address, please)

Hello, I'm an avid reader of your daynotes!

In your Tuesday daynote, you mentioned the fatal flaw of "Multiculturalism". My own thought is that "multiculturalism" is a response to just the sort of violence we're seeing. It's kind of a philosophy of "We're all here anyway, whether we like it or not, so we can try to kill each other now, or we can try to avoid killing each other now. So let's try to learn to appreciate each other's good points, and deal with each other's "bad points" in a civil fashion. "

I think "multiculturalism" is an idea we're trying to graft on to societies that have heretofore been a collection of "monocultures", to a greater or lesser extent. The USA has gone farthest down the road (though not very far), in embracing the idea of "multiculturalism", with our culture formed from a collection of different "old world" cultures.

It may be hard to accomplish, but the Balkans, Israel, Rwanda, and Ireland, show us what the only other alternative is.

Thanks for putting up with my rambling thoughts. I've tried to put a mostly nebulous idea in my head, into coherent sentences that make sense, and I'm not at all certain of my success.

I wish you luck in dealing with the avalanche of hate mail that you're going to get from the expression of sympathy for the Palestinians. It's a major hot-button issue.

Sincerely, David Bierbaum.

Again, multiculturalism and cultural diversity are not the same thing. Multiculturalism is an Orwellian description for a Politically Correct phenomenon which seeks to deny culture rather than celebrate it.

There are, I think, two distinct forms of culture. Call them private culture and public culture. Private culture is an aspect of individuals, families, and small communities. Public culture is shared--the things we all have in common, such as language, dress, and customs. 

Part of the public culture in France, for example, is speaking French. Chris Ward-Johnson (Dr. Keyboard), for example, is British, but lives in France. He and Wendy no doubt speak English between themselves, but speak French when interacting with French people. Similarly, being British, they are accustomed to driving on the wrong side of the road, but when in France they drive on the right side of the road, because that is the custom there. 

To use an extreme example, the multiculturalists would argue that all of the French should learn to speak English to accommodate the Ward-Johnsons because, after all, English is just as good a language as French. Similarly, according to the multiculturalists, requiring Chris and Wendy to drive on the right side of the road is cultural imperialism, because driving on the left is just as good as driving on the right.

None of that would actually happen, of course, because multiculturalism is selective in what it regards as valuable and worthy of protection. British culture is a dominant one, and therefore not only not worthy of protection, but deserving of condemnation. See Bob Walder's page for 10/10, where he gives an example of multiculturalism. The maniacs now consider "British" to be a racist term. 

As far as hate mail, I haven't had any, and I don't expect to receive any. With very few exceptions, the people who read my page (or at least the ones who send me email) are intelligent and reasonable people. I don't understand how any reasonable person could hate Palestinians for being Palestinians, any more than a reasonable person could hate Jews for being Jews, or Blacks for being Blacks, or Whites for being Whites, or Germans for being Germans, or Women for being Women.


-----Original Message-----
From: J. H. RICKETSON [mailto:JHR@warlockltd.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 11:56 PM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: Your 10/17 Post

Bob -

I thought Dr. Pournelle's statement was pretty fine and reasonable. You have topped that. Bravo!, for a fine piece of reasoning and excellent writing. One of your very best, IMO.

Regards,

JHR
--
J. H. RICKETSON
[JHR@WarlockLltd.com]
17/10/2000 8:52:32 PM
Linuxen do it in a hammock, standing up. By choice.
Why? - " We've always done it that way!"

 


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Thursday, 19 October 2000

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The Register reports that Intel has (finally) admitted that it made a mistake getting into bed with Rambus. Among other things, the article quotes Intel CEO Craig Barrett as saying "We hoped we were partners with a company that would concentrate on technology rather than seeking to collect a toll from other companies." Which from everything I read is what Rambus is all about. The Register also reports that Intel may experience problems with the Pentium 4 rollout, depending on how the situation in the Middle East develops. Apparently, huge numbers of 1.7 GHz Pentium 4 processors were scheduled to be made at Fab 18, which just happens to be smack in the middle of the Gaza Strip.

Our author copies of PC Hardware in a Nutshell showed up yesterday. Usually, they don't show up until at least a month after the book hits the warehouses, and often it's a couple of months. So I need to get some padded shipping envelopes to send copies to people I've promised them to.

Back to work on the chapters.


-----Original Message-----
From: bilbrey@mta5.snfc21.pbi.net [mailto:bilbrey@mta5.snfc21.pbi.net]On Behalf Of Brian Bilbrey
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2000 10:45 AM
To: thompson@ttgnet.com
Subject: Fathead...

> although when it comes to administering their affiliate commissions > Fathead would be a better name for them.

And in fact, they have yet to ship this PC Hardware IAN book that I ordered from them last week. I know, its a small book from an otherwise unregarded author, but they did accept the order... <grin>

Oddly, over the weekend at one point, Amazon showed 3 to 5 weeks, Fatbrain showed 3-5 business days, and Barnes & Noble showed in stock and shipping...

Later Fatbrain went to 3 to 4 weeks for a few hours, then back to 3 to 5 days. And still they haven't shipped the book. Sigh.

Sorry about that. I have no idea what's going on with availability. Since last weekend, Amazon has shown the book as available in "24 hours", then "1 to 2 weeks", then "3 to 5 weeks", then "1 to 2 weeks" again, and this morning as "2 to 3 days." Other on-line booksellers have shown similar variations, although the swings haven't been as extreme. I talked to my editor at O'Reilly yesterday. The book is available from O'Reilly warehouses and distributors. My guess is that, although the backorders for the book were extremely high, it may be that customer orders exceeded expectations and the various booksellers sold out. That is, Amazon may have pre-ordered 10 or 50 copies for inventory. Last weekend, they showed 24 hour availability, and the book's ranking shot way up. It was at about 1,000 at one point, and may well have gone even lower when I wasn't looking. That may mean that they sold all 10 or 50 copies and had to mark the book out of stock. If that's the case, it's both cheering and depressing. Cheering because the book is moving well, and depressing because they can't sell a book they don't have. We'll see what happens over the next month or so, as things settle down.


-----Original Message-----
From: chriswj [mailto:chriswj@mostxlnt.co.uk]
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2000 11:13 AM
To: Robert Bruce Thompson (E-mail)
Subject: Multiculturalists

The thing that always gets me about the multiculturalists, as opposed to the live-along-withs (which is what I'd consider myself to be) is that they want to grant 'rights' and 'privileges' to members of other ethnic groups and nationalities that they wouldn't get in those people's own countries. So, for example, there was a huge hoo-ha in London over the building of a mosque in Regents Park and how loud the voice of the muezzin could be amplified when calling the faithful to prayer. Pardon? Christianity is illegal in Saudi Arabia, and only last July 20 people were arrested and deported for believing differently - and they counted themselves lucky not to have been flogged." Only one of the men I talked with was harmed physically while under arrest," the church leader said. Well, there's lucky then." Freedom of religion does not exist," the U.S. State Department's 1997 Human Rights Report on Saudi Arabia states. "Islam is the official religion, and all citizens must be Muslims. The government prohibits the public practice of other religions."

Now, the Saudis are wrong - feel free to worship any imaginary friend you like - but how do we get from there to having an exception in English law that says if you're a Sikh you don't have to wear a crash helmet on a motor cycle because that would mean you'd have to take off your turban and that would be against your religion? Nuts.

The French are much better about this sort of thing; the law here, for example, has an explicit split between State and Religion which means that you're not allowed to wear 'Religious symbols' at State-run schools (which is 99% of them) - so no crucifixes if you're a Roman Catholic (as most French people, nominally, are) or veils if you're a Muslim.

Also, a lot of local councils in the UK spend fortunes on translating all their documentation into half a dozen foreign languages and providing translators for foreigners. Fine, in a way I suppose, for those who've just arrived but what about those who've been in the country for 20 years and not learned ANY English at all? I once had a conversation with a local councillor about this and suggested they should spend money on English teachers instead of translators and he accused me of racism, saying, 'Why on earth would you want to force someone to learn English?' to which the only reply can be, 'Duh.'

I tell you, it's Political Correctness like this that gives us wishy-washy woolly-minded socialists a bad name.

Regards

Chris Ward-Johnson
Dr Keyboard - Computing Answers You Can Understand
http://drkeyboard.com
Chateau Keyboard - Computing at the Eating Edge
http://www.chateaukeyboard.com
No attachments were sent with this e-mail - if you find one, delete it and let me know.

I also consider myself to be in the live-along-with camp. Language is certainly the trip-wire that sets people off. My position, and that of many others, is that speaking English is part of the culture of the United States. Anyone who comes here to live should learn to speak English, rather than expecting the rest of us to accommodate his inability to do so. 

I dislike seeing government agencies using multi-lingual posters, hiring translators, and so on. All of that comes at a high cost to us, the taxpayers, and all of it is discriminatory. For example, I have often pointed out that printing the drivers' license manual in English and Spanish is simply unacceptable. It should be available in English only. If the government is going to print it in other languages, what about the needs of people who speak only Russian, or German, or Chinese, or French, or Arabic, or whatever? The only fair and reasonable choices are to publish government documents only in English--our common language--or in all languages, which is clearly impractical.

If I visit Mexico or France or Germany as a tourist, I expect people at touristy locations to speak English. That's reasonable, and in their best interests economically. But if I decide to live in Mexico, I'll learn to speak Spanish. If I move to Germany, I'll learn to speak German. Just as you and Wendy learned to speak French when you decided to live in France. It seems to me the height of arrogance for someone to move to a country whose language he doesn't speak and expect the people in that country to accommodate his inability to speak their language. 

Language is fundamental, and speaking the language of the country in which one resides shows respect for one's neighbors. Nor is it particularly difficult to learn enough of a language to make oneself understood. If I moved to Mexico or France or Germany or Russia, within a week I'd be able to converse at least on a basic level in their language. Within a year, I'd be fluent, although I'm sure people would still realize that I wasn't from around there. But people who don't even make the effort to learn the language of the country where they reside seem to me to be inexcusably rude. 

And, yes, I realize that Americans living abroad are notorious for doing just that. Hell, the US has had more than one ambassador who didn't speak the language of the host country. But I don't excuse them any more than I excuse others who move to the United States and don't learn to speak English. It seems to me that it's the responsibility of the immigrant to fit in, and a big part of fitting in is learning to speak the language of the host country.


-----Original Message-----
From: Alan Donders [mailto:alan_donders@hotmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2000 2:05 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: On-Line Book Buying

Bob, Are you familiar with www.bestbookbuys.com?

>From their 'About Us' page:

"Best Book Buys is one of the first shopping comparison sites that searches several stores to help consumers find who's selling products they are seeking at the best prices. People who use Best Book Buys can search over 20 bookstores simultaneously to find who's got a book at the lowest price. The company was created and founded by Steve Loyola who launched the site in August 1997. Individuals use Best Book Buys to find all types of books, including computer books, textbooks, audio books, used books, and out-of-print books."

They show PCHIAN at prices (including shipping) ranging from $22.50 (www.a1books.com - 31% off list) to $35.70 (www.page1book.com - list price).

Yes, I am familiar with that site, but I never use it. When I'm shopping for something, I never look for the lowest price. I'd much rather pay a bit more and deal with a company that I'm comfortable with. The couple of bucks I might save just aren't worth the potential hassles involved in dealing with someone unknown to me.


-----Original Message-----
From: David Cefai [mailto:davcefai@keyworld.net]
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2000 3:42 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Multiculturalism

Dear Bob,

You make some interesting points about multiculturalism. I've never been to the US but I am a frequent visitor to England. It is my view that they are going about tackling multicultures in almost exactly the totally wrong way.

The British system seems to go out of its way to encourage cultural separatism. As a result there is no longer a "British" way of life. There seems to be little cultural mixing. There is no melting pot in Great Britain.

If one emigrates to a foreign country one should be prepared to integrate with the new culture. That way lies harmony.

Instead the UK is the home of more cultures than you can shake a stick at. The politically correct schoolbooks show identifiable stereotyped children playing together. The reality is that the stereotypes really exist but they live separate lives. The (rapidly growing) minority or foreign cultures flaunt their differences. I cannot detect any attempt to correct this. Instead of trying to homogenise the cultures the British system is bending over backwards to accomodate them.

The crack! we will soon hear will be that of a breaking back.

Exactly. Human nature is to distrust people who are different. It takes people a while to accept others, but they do eventually realize that the new folks aren't really so very different other than in superficialities. The US has seen waves of immigration, and during each of them the newcomers were despised by the people already here. When the Irish waves began, it was common to see signs in bars, "No Dogs or Irishmen". The Italians faced discrimination, as did the Jews, the Germans, the Hungarians, and so on. In each case, the newcomers were accepted in relatively short order and became part of the melting pot. 

But all that was in the absence of any attempt to force people to accept newcomers. People are by nature contrary. Allowing them to accept newcomers on their own terms ensures that they will eventually accept the newcomers. But forcing them to accept newcomers is the best way to guarantee they won't. Multiculturalism and government anti-discrimination measures (which are in fact correctly perceived by most as favoritism) drive wedges between groups and ensure a fragmented society, plagued with hatred and distrust between the groups.


-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Boyle [mailto:mboyle@toltbbs.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2000 9:07 AM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: The book!!!

Robert

Received the book yesterday, am looking it over. The best discussion on IRQs I have seen yet!

Mike Boyle
mboyle@buckeye-express.com

Great! Thanks!

 


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Friday, 20 October 2000

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I've gotten several messages from people who have received their copies of PC Hardware in a Nutshell, so the book is definitely in stock and shipping at least some places, regardless of what some sites say. Fatbrain is honoring orders placed back when they were assuming that the list price was $25 rather than $30, so people who pre-ordered then ended up with a 33% discount rather than the 20% nominal. Amazon.com still has the book mis-listed at $24.95 list and $19.96 after discount, for anyone who wants to take advantage of that, although I won't order from Amazon.com myself. They're currently showing 2 to 3 day availability.

I'm not feeling very well this morning, and when Barbara gets back from the gym we have to go run some errands. So I'll cut this short for now.


-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Micko [mailto:rmicko@clipperinc.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2000 6:25 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Learning to speak the language

Mr. Thompson:

"I also consider myself to be in the live-along-with camp. Language is certainly the trip-wire that sets people off. My position, and that of many others, is that speaking English is part of the culture of the United States. Anyone who comes here to live should learn to speak English, rather than expecting the rest of us to accommodate his inability to do so. "

I would disagree with you on one point. Anyone who comes here should not expect us to accommodate his inability to learn the language. Whether he learns English or not is entirely up to him. I am a first generation American. My parents immigrated from Germany after WWII. My father and mother went to night school to learn English. My father became deaf as a boy in Germany; he never heard the English language, yet he spoke it with less of an accent than my mother does. I spoke German unitl I was five years old. I learned English in grade school. Now I know I should have demanded an education in German, but I'm not sure how multicutural the nuns were at the time.

Thank you for your courtesy,

Richard Micko
Clipper Computer Consulting, Inc.
rmicko@clipperinc.com

No, I wouldn't force anyone to learn to speak English. But neither would I make any official provisions to accommodate those who did.


-----Original Message-----
From: Patricia McCalla [mailto:mccalla1@hotmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 19, 2000 8:13 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: neat stuff

You may already be aware of this neat little box. It's the (failed) network computer from Oracle. At $200.00 its almost a neat little box to play with linux on. The NIC has a 200Mhz Cyrix processor, 64 meg ram, NO hard drive, a modem, and sound. It boots off a CD and has a 4meg eprom (to save favorites in Netscape). If you use it for what its intended for its not that bad, I wish it had an lpt port (it has 2 usb ports). It includes the Citrix client so you can connect to Microsoft Terminal server, which is all I use it for. A Wyse terminal running Win CE cost over three times as much. I was thinking it has a lot of promise, but not for a novice. I am already burning my own linux boot disk with added apps for mine. I bought one at work because of the price. You must burn your own disk to add proper networking. I can now map an NT drive at boot-up. I know if I just used it for its intended purpose it would be fine. http://www.thinknic.com I would love to hear your opinion on this.

I know better than to post links but this may interest you. http://www.safeweb.com They encrypt web pages for you and squash cookies. Cheers and good luck with the new book.

Yancey McCalla

Well, I think I'd be inclined to pay a bit more and get more machine, but it sounds fine for what you use it for. As far as the safeweb site, I visited there but could display only the home page. When I attempted to use it browse to another site, I got an error. When I click on a link on the home page, I got an error. Perhaps it requires scripting be enabled? If so, that's ironic given the purpose of the site.


-----Original Message-----
From: danaburns@pop.ne.mediaone.net
Sent: Friday, October 20, 2000 7:28 AM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: mediaone d-link incompatible

In trying to solve today's problem, I ran across [this]

In in, AT&T (formerly roadrunner) and D-Link wwere mentioned. I had just purchased a D-Link DI-704 and tried to get it to work. I called AT&T and had them change the MAC address as required, but that didn't work. When I further explained what sort of "nic" I was using, they told me it was incompatible.

So I asked what similar device worked, and the guy said none but for an additional $9.95 a month I could get up to 3 IP's blah blah blah...

I'm going back to using my linux NAT solution for now :( I have a feeling that AT&T has a policy of detecting and refusing these sorts of devices as it competes with their $9/95/month revenue stream. Or maybe it's just a firmware upgrade I need :)

Dana

Interesting. I've never tried using any kind of dedicated router/NAT/firewall on my RoadRunner link. I suspect you're better off with the Linux solution anyway.

 


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Saturday, 21 October 2000

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We never did run the errands yesterday. I was under the weather all day, and felt really ill last night. I seem to be doing a bit better this morning, though.

Some interesting stuff on the way in. Intel has a new motherboard, the D815BN, that looks to be an excellent platform for building a basic PC. It's a microATX FC-PGA board that supports 66, 100, and 133 MHz FSB processors and has embedded Intel 815 video, with sound and LAN optional. The only real downside to integrated Intel motherboards like the CA810E is that they had no AGP slot, so if you wanted to upgrade the embedded video, the only option was to use a PCI video card. The D815BN provides a universal AGP slot, which addresses that concern. The D815BN was originally slated to be an OEM-only board, but Intel changed its mind and is now shipping the D815BN into the channel in ten-packs. No word on whether it will eventually be available in retail-boxed form, but I suspect resellers will break the ten-packs and sell individual boards.

I'm going to build a system around the D815BN, but at this point I haven't decided exactly which components to use. I'll definitely be using a fast Celeron processor, which I won't be able to talk about in any detail until it's formally announced. I'm running out of space to put new boxes (and places to plug them in) so I think I'll take down one of my old Pentium II/300 systems and recycle that case and some of the other components.

It seems that I'll be leading the November Desktop Computing Roundtable for CMP's Planet IT. I have to come up with a topic for the roundtable, so any suggestions would be appreciated. Ideally, the topic should be one that will generate a lot of interest (and posts). I'm thinking about doing something on the advantages/disadvantages of Intel versus AMD processors, but if anyone has a better idea, please let me know. If you want to participate, you have to create an account with Planet IT. I'm hoping that many of the readers of this site will sign up and participate. I guess it's the old "what if I throw a party and no one shows up" thing.


-----Original Message-----
From: Pete Moore [mailto:PMoore@PrecisionIT.net]
Sent: Friday, October 20, 2000 2:56 PM
To: 'webmaster@ttgnet.com'
Subject: nt login problem

I'm curious if something (or things) might occur to you off the top of your head about a minor annoyance at work. I run a little (~25 or so) NT network, NT 4.0, SP6, Compaq file server, TCP/IP only. Multiple PCs and multiple logins have the same problem: the first time we login, we get a "No domain server found... yadda yadda"" message. Pressing [Escape] to return to the login dialog, then pressing [Enter] to retry, usually logs us in fine. Once in a while it works smoothly, sometimes it takes more than one extra try. But that's the basic picture. The multiplicity makes me assume it's something at the server end. Someone suggested gateway settings. Would this apply in a single-segment network? Our gateway is just a Cisco 2600 router that we use to get to the internet.

Of course I'm not expecting you to spend more than a moment on this, because your time is valuable. But the experience of you and your readers might help me out here. I'm wondering if there's some particular things I should check out with Performance Monitor or something. Thanks in advance for your consideration.

Peter A. Moore
ITS Engineer
Precision IT, a division of Precision Design Systems
phone: (716) 426-4500
fax: (716) 426-4548
PMoore@PrecisionIT.net

It's not uncommon for a client to be unable to authenticate against the domain controller, but that's usually on a newly installed client with an incorrect netmask or some other misconfigured TCP/IP parameter that prevents it from communicating on the network. And the problem is persistent until the client is reconfigured properly. 

The only time I remember seeing a similar situation to that you describe was years ago, so the details are a bit dim in my memory. As I remember, the network was using DHCP, but the PDC was not configured as a DHCP server. Instead, it was configured to get its IP configuration from another box or a router that was running a DHCP server. When I noticed that, I disabled DHCP on the other box, assigned the PDC a static IP address, and installed DHCP Server on the PDC, excluding a range of IP addresses including that assigned to the server from the DHCP scope running on that server. I cleared the DHCP client on each of the workstations, shut everything down, and restarted the server and workstations. The problem went away. 

Also, you don't mention what you're using for NetBT resolution. If you're running WINS, the problem probably isn't resolution-related. If you're not, you're using broadcasts. That's normally not a problem on small single-segment networks, but it'd be worthwhile to try using a HOSTS file on the local workstations that points to the (static) IP address of the server.

I'm still not firing on all cylinders this morning, so I may be overlooking something obvious. If so, perhaps my readers have some better ideas.


-----Original Message-----
From: Tim Nance [mailto:tim@nancepub.com]
Sent: Friday, October 20, 2000 3:13 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: RE:mediaone d-link incompatible

>In in, AT&T (formerly roadrunner) and D-Link wwere mentioned.
>I had just purchased a D-Link DI-704 and tried to get it to work.

I run a D-Link DI-701 and Road Runner without problem on my network. My cable is with Time Warner and the service is still called Road Runner, so I don't know if your change to AT&T is regional. That might be the problem. But in Louisiana we're having no problems.

One thing I had to do was to unplug my cable modem and power it back up after the DI-70x initializes.

Hope any of this helps,

Tim Nance
Nance Publishing
mailto:tim@nancepub.com
www.nancepub.com

Thanks.

 


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Sunday, 22 October 2000

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Long shower this morning. I spent a good half hour cleaning the shower stall and doors using Soft Scrub with Bleach. I came out squeaky clean, but smelling of chlorine. I'm doing laundry this morning while Barbara cleans house. 

My to-do list is becoming Sisyphean. Just as I get one rock rolled up to the top of the hill, I notice the collection of boulders at the bottom. I lose my grip on the one I'm working on, and down it rolls to the bottom to join the others. Reminds me of the time I accidentally spawned more than 200 processes on a VAX 11/730. The poor thing ended up spending about 99.99% of its CPU time swapping tasks and about 0.01% actually getting work done. That's the way it feels around here most days.

I typically spend something like ten hours per week working on this site, much of which is devoted to reading and responding to mail. Ten hours is an entire work day, and I simply can't afford to spend that much time on what is really a hobby. So I'm going to cut back greatly on the amount of time I spend on this page. I know I've talked about doing this before, and somehow I never end up doing it. That's because I enjoy keeping this page and hearing from readers. But at this point, I have no choice.

I have a book to write with Pournelle, the HardwareGuys.com web site to keep up (haven't done anything there recently), a book that Barbara and I are doing and will self-publish, and so on. That just doesn't leave enough time in the day to do all the other things I'd like to do. When I prioritize stuff, this site has to come last, unfortunately.

I'll continue posting updates, but they're likely to be short and won't necessarily be posted every day. I'll continue to read mail I receive from readers, but I won't be responding in detail (if at all) or posting it except under very unusual circumstances. So how long will this go on? I don't know. It may be permanent, or I may return to longer posts once I get my to-do list under control.


-----Original Message-----
From: Mark McChesney [mailto:hoofbeat@erols.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 21, 2000 11:58 AM
To: PMoore@PrecisionIT.net
Cc: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: RE:nt login problem

Pete,

Some additional information about your network would be helpful. Bob Thompson covered a lot of the questions, but just to make sure, here's what I'd like to know:

Are you using DHCP or static IPs?

Are you using a WINS server?

If you're using DHCP and WINS, are your clients set to receive all of their network settings from the DHCP server or are such things as gateway, DNS server and WINS set on the client, overriding the settings from DHCP?

If using DHCP and assigning a value for WINS server, what node type are you assigning to your clients? (h-node, m-node, b-node or p-node?) H-node is the recommended setting, as it will query your WINS server first, then fall back to broadcasting if necessary.

Can you ping the server from a client using its computername (not DNS host name)? Reliably?

If not, can you ping it by IP address?

If you are not using WINS, you could create an LMHOSTS file to help with NetBT name resolution. By using the appropriate keywords in the LMHOSTS file you can preload your NetBIOS name cache with the addresses of network resources such as your domain controller. See Microsoft Knowledgebase article Q180094 [here] on Microsoft's web site or TechNet for more info.

What OS are your clients running? NT 4.0 WS or Win 9x?

As part of the troubleshooting process, you could attempt your first logon, and after it failed either log on locally or bypass the logon process (depending on your client), go to a command prompt and run NBTSTAT -c. This will dump your NetBIOS name cache and give you some idea of what NetBIOS resources your client is aware of. If the cache is empty, you probably should be reviewing your name resolution process.

To check things from the server's viewpoint, install the Network Monitor Agent and Tools on the server, then run Network Monitor to capture an attempted logon session. This should tell you whether or not the client ever tried to contact your PDC.

I think all of the above can be summarized as follows: What is your NetBIOS name resolution method? Everthing else becomes a check to verify that it's set up correctly and working as expected.

Hope you find this helpful,

Thanks for the comprehensive response.


-----Original Message-----
From: David Cefai [mailto:davcefai@keyworld.net]
Sent: Saturday, October 21, 2000 5:35 PM
To: [mailto:PMoore@PrecisionIT.net
Cc: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Login Problems

Saw your email to ttgnet.

Suggestions: Space in Computer Name is illegal. However an underscore in the name has caused me problems in the past.

Try looking at Microsoft's articles Q154434 and Q152971 (Technet). They could point you in the right direction.

Thanks. I wasn't aware that the underscore character could cause problems in a NetBIOS computer name. I'm not sure I've ever used one.


-----Original Message-----
From: Richard G. Samuels [mailto:rick@samuels.com]
Sent: Friday, October 20, 2000 8:09 PM
To: webmaster@ttgnet.com
Subject: Roadrunner on a dedicated NAT box

I don't know how different the technology they use is, but we have AT&T @home cable here in the Portland area. They require that the computer connecting to them have the proper computer name (the format is C123456a). I have connected to their devices with Linux boxes and dedicated devices from Linksys and Trendware. No problem and over 2 megs of inbound bandwidth with 128K outbound. They prohibit running any kind of server and continually scan the network for servers to enforce the policy. I've been pleased with the service.

Thanks. I've never understood why cable companies are so paranoid about people running servers. It seems to me that running a server for a personal web site or SMTP or whatever is a perfectly valid personal use of such a connection. I understand that they are concerned with bandwidth, but it seems to me they could put some sort of reasonable rules into effect to prevent someone from running a download site, a warez site, or whatever. And anyway, most of their bandwidth nowadays is getting sucked down by MP3 transfers, and I've not seen any cable company attempt to ban them.

 


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