Monday, 29 March 2004
7:57 - Still working hard. I put in a full day on Saturday, from 0700 to 1600, and a half day yesterday. I was going to work longer, but I wasn't feeling well. I have to be careful not to overwork, because I have to keep this pace for at least the next six weeks or so, and probably through Memorial Day. After that I'll be able to take it a bit easier, and go back to my usual schedule of eight hours per day six days a week.
We'd planned to get up very early Sunday morning to watch the quintuple transit of Jupiter, with two of Jupiter's moons transiting Jupiter's disk and three shadows of Jupiter's moons simultaneously transiting the disk. The event started at 2359 Saturday, with the ingress of the first object. All five objects were in transit starting at 0300 Sunday, and lasting for only a few minutes. We planned to get up around 0230 and observe it from Paul and Mary's driveway. Alas, we were clouded out.
I'm working on one of the early chapters today, which is primarily text. When Barbara gets home this afternoon, I'll shift to working on the Building a Kick-Ass LAN Party PC chapter. I need her to build the system while I shoot the images. This is going to be a very fast system--Pentium 4 Extreme Edition processor, RADEON 9800 XT video adapter, and so on. It's going in an Antec Super LANBOY aluminum case, which has a transparent side panel. It'll have all kinds of fluorescent cables and fans. I've never built a system like that. I was thinking of putting it in the den, but I'm afraid if I do that the dogs will be afraid to go in there at night.
Tuesday, 30 March 2004
8:51 - I'm working on two chapters simultaneously right now. The first, Choosing and Buying Components, I'm working on mornings, while Barbara is at work. The second, Building a Kick-Ass LAN Party PC, I'm working on afternoons, while Barbara is here to do hand-holding photos. I really like the Antec Super LANBOY case I'm using for this system. It's an aluminum case and weighs next to nothing. One of its nice features, one I've never seen in any other case, is the embedded parts box, shown below. It has a sliding lid, and is large enough to hold spare parts and small tools. I think if I were going to actually use it, I'd use some foam to keep things from rattling around.
Requiescat in Pace, Peter Ustinov and Alistair Cooke.
Ustinov was a superb actor. I remember him best in what I'm sure he would have considered one of his more obscure roles, as Jules in the 1955 version of We're No Angels, with Humphrey Bogart, Basil Rathbone, Aldo Ray, and Leo G. Carroll (and, of course, Adolph, the deadly little viper who bit only bad people). Ustinov played everything from comedic farce to Shakespearian drama with equal mastery. He will be missed.
Alistair Cooke was an extraordinary man. I wish I had known him. Like many, I first became aware of him in his role as host of Masterpiece Theatre. Later, I read his most popular book, Alistair Cooke's America, followed by several of his other books. Mr. Cooke was a keen observer of the American scene, with a gift for putting things in historical context. In his role as unofficial ambassador, he spent 60 years helping Brits and Americans understand each other. He will be missed.
Wednesday, 31 March 2004
12:22 - I've got so many balls in the air that I forgot to post this morning. Pretty bad, considering that I've been keeping this journal for something like six years now.
I'm doing the usual heads-down writing and system building. One very odd thing I can comment on.
I'm running Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird on my den system. I really don't like either of them, at least in comparison to the monolithic Mozilla 1.6 suite. They're missing a lot of features and functions. Here's a trivial example. Quite often in the evening I'll be browsing the web, using only my mouse, with the keyboard on top of the system unit, out of reach. My usual practice when I come across a URL that isn't a link is to copy it with the mouse, paste it into the URL line of a new browser window, and click Go. Well, there is no "Go" in Firefox, or if there is one I haven't found a way to enable it. That means when I use Firefox I have to stretch to reach the keyboard and press the Enter key.
So I decided to uninstall Firefox and Thunderbird and re-install Mozilla. I first installed Mozilla without removing Firefox and Thunderbird. The Mozilla re-install went fine. The problem was, when I tried to run Mozilla, it refused to run. I double-clicked on the icon, and nothing happened. I used Windows Explorer to display the Mozilla directory, double-clicked on the program executable, and nothing happened. So I uninstalled Firefox and Thunderbird. Mozilla still doesn't work. I rebooted. No joy. I uninstalled and re-installed Mozilla. It still didn't work. I uninstalled Mozilla, used regedit to remove all references to Mozilla, Thunderbird, or Firefox in the registry. I then reinstalled Mozilla, and it still didn't work.
It used to work on this system, so it's not some bizarre hardware issue. Somehow, installing Thunderbird and/or Firefox "poisoned" this box. It will no longer run Mozilla 1.6, or if it will I can't figure out how to make it work. This is very strange.
13:08 - You know, with all this anguish about high gasoline prices, it strikes me that there's an easy solution. All President Bush has to do is pick up the phone, put in a call to the Godfather that runs Saudi Arabia, and say something like, "Hiya, Prince. Howsabout you guys boost your production by 20% and cut your prices by 80% by, oh, say, first thing tomorrow morning? Otherwise, you're next. Been nice talkin' to ya."
Actually, of course, Saudi Arabia should have been first, as I've been saying all along. The Saudi ruling family is literally a bunch of gangsters. Saudi Arabia funded and encouraged the 9/11 attacks, and it should be made to pay, both in oil and in blood. Instead, the Bush administration has allowed Saudi Arabia and OPEC to increase prices and cut production, putting the screws to the American people. I've had about enough.
Thursday, 1 April 2004
9:32 - The front page of the morning paper had a photograph of a large crowd of smiling Iraqis cheering the murder of Americans yesterday. If I were running things, they wouldn't be smiling, and they certainly wouldn't be cheering.
What should happen when US or allied soldiers are fired upon? I've said it before. They should respond with overwhelming firepower and level everything out to the horizon. If the unit fired upon doesn't have the resources to do that, they should call in ground attack aircraft and artillery. Hell, they should call in a B-52 raid or Puff the Magic Dragon if that's what it takes.
There's a lesson our forces need to be teaching the Iraqis, and the Iraqis aren't learning it because we aren't teaching it. If you fire on US troops, you will die. If you are in the vicinity of anyone who fires on US troops, you will die. Not only is it a very bad idea to actively participate in shooting at US troops, it's a very bad idea to passively allow others in your vicinity to do so. If you know someone you believe may fire on US troops, it'd be a very good idea to report them to the US authorities.
Instead, President George "Wimp" Bush seems determined to wage war on Iraq without hurting the Iraqis' feelings, let alone hurting the Iraqis themselves. We're losing US soldiers unnecessarily because Mr. Bush is too craven to allow them to protect themselves with reasonable means.
13:34 - Fred Reed has posted another excellent column, this one on the feminization of America. He is indisputably right in every particular, but I'm sure his column will draw howls of outrage from offended women.
He does overlook one aspect of the situation, though. Fred believes that men formerly controlled things but that that control is now increasingly exercised by women. He's wrong, at least in terms of civilized societies. In the earliest hunter-gatherer societies, in early agricultural societies, and in Islam today (I won't call it a society), men did indeed exercise almost complete control. But with the advent of civilization, literally "living in cities", women were able to grasp and maintain much of that power. Civilization means laws, property, inheritance, and so on.
Women live longer than men on average. They always have. They're more robust. Certainly, many women died in childbirth before the advent of modern medicine, just as many men died in battle or working on the farm. But historically, a women who gets past the dangers of the early years has outlived, on average, a man who has done the same. This is a law of nature. It's the reason why something like 105 or 108 baby boys are born for every 100 baby girls. Males are more fragile in biological terms.
This lifespan advantage has meant that over the generations women have come to control most of the money, and therefore most of the power. Empowered women are by no means a new phenomenon. What has changed is the distribution of power. Formerly, women ruled the home. Men learned as boys to respect women, and as grown men to defer to them to avoid unpleasantness unless an issue was truly important. This resulted in a separation of powers. Men ruled the battlefield and the business world, but women ruled domestic issues, which are arguably more important and more influential overall.
What is happening now is that women are intruding into what were formerly male spheres of power, while maintaining their traditional power bases. This is not good news for men. Less obviously, it is not good news for women. Men and women have historically functioned in partnerships, with a separation of powers. As that changes, women are increasingly in the only roles of power and men are becoming mere appendages. Essential for reproduction, for now, but not much more. And even that role may disappear as medical science advances.
The danger is that the male characteristics Fred Reed mentions are essential to a functioning society, just as are the female characteristics. As long as they remain in balance, a society remains healthy and vital. When they are completely out of whack, as they are rapidly becoming, society fails, first in subtle ways, but eventually catastrophically.
Most people think I'm joking when I say that giving women the vote was the biggest disaster of the 20th century. I'm not. I don't believe that women should have the franchise or, for that matter, be permitted to serve on juries or as judges. Those are fundamentally male roles, and they should have been maintained as such. Consider the politicians that would not have been elected if women didn't vote. Bill Clinton would not have been elected to one term, let alone two. And violent crime is almost exclusively the fault of women. Men actually do the crimes, yes, but it is women serving as judges and on juries who release them to kill again. If women did not serve on juries, O. J. Simpson would not be walking around free. This isn't exclusively the fault of women, of course. There are plenty of men who behave and think like women. An increasingly large percentage of the population, unfortunately.
When people understand that I'm serious, they invariably conclude that I'm a woman-hater and have no respect for women. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love women and respect them as people. I respect their opinions and their intellect. I no more choose to associate with stupid women than I do with stupid men. I prefer women who are smart, feisty, and opinionated. Those women I would trust to vote or hold office or serve on a jury. It's true that I hold most women in contempt, but I also hold most men in contempt. The difference is that most men, even contemptible ones, tend to do the right thing instinctively at the ballot box or in the jury box. Most women, alas, don't.
8:55 - PC Power & Cooling makes the point that they rate their power supplies at 40º C, whereas many (most?) other power supply makers rate their supplies at only 25º C. I decided the other day to go straight to the horse's mouth and ask Antec at what temperature they rate their power supplies. Here is the exchange of messages, which I think may interest many of my readers. The important part is that an Antec technical guy tells me, "Our TruePower supplies have passed the UL testing fully loaded under 40 degree C ambient temperature." I believe him.
-------- Original Message --------
Can you tell me what temperature Antec rates its power supplies at?
PC Power & Cooling makes a point of saying that they rate their output wattages at 40C, whereas nearly all other power supply vendors rate their units at only 25C. According to PCP&C, to convert a rating made at 25C to the 40C level, you have to multiply by about 2/3. In other words, a unit rated at 300W at 25C would be rated at only 200W at 40C.
I really need to know what temperature Antec rates its units at.
Saturday, 3 April 2004
Sunday, 4 April 2004
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