- I'm cranking away on the new book, making quite a bit of
progress. I'm posting my work-in-process documents on the subscribers' page,
so if you're interested in watching a project develop from an idea to a
finished book, here's your chance. For now, you'll find plenty of
sentence fragments, partial ideas, notes to myself, and so on. As the
book develops, those will all be fleshed out, reorganized, and put into
I'd originally intended to post the documents in
StarOffice/OpenOffice.org .sxw format, but I ran into some difficulties
with that. Some of my "kitchen cabinet" group of advisors weren't able
to read those documents for various reasons, including not having
permission to install OOo on their work systems. So I went to Plan B,
which was to use StarOffice to "Export to PDF". That sounded workable
until this morning, when one of my advisors told me the PDFs I was
generating were displaying oddly on his MAC. Oh, well.
So, as much as I dislike Microsoft Word and other proprietary formats,
I've started posting the documents in two formats, as PDFs and as
zipped MS Word document files. I hope everyone who is interested can
read one or the other.
- Killer deadlines this week and next, so there won't be much if
anything up here. I'll continue to post work-in-process documents to
the subscribers' page
A lot of people have had problems reading the PDFs I generated from
StarOffice. I'm not sure why that is, but I'll try to figure it out
when I have a spare nanosecond or two. In the interim, I'll continue
posting them as Word documents and StarOffice .sxw documents (I might
as well do that, since that's the format I'm using natively.)
Wednesday, 9 February 2005
- The death march continues. I need to get a couple of completed
Astronomy Hacks to my editor as soon as possible, and I have to have 15
completed Hacks to him by next Wednesday. That's one week of heads-down
writing, with little time for anything else at all.
This warning from subscriber Paul Hampson.
Plextor firmware upgrade
Date: Sat, 05
Feb 2005 09:45:33 -0800
I found that
if you are checking your version via regedit and have the PX-708UF on a
W2K system, Plextors instructions leave out a level. It will be
posting that note, it led me to also look at compatability and discover
why I've made two coasters out of the cheap Memorex disks I got - I
have Verbatims now, following your lead.
Thanks. I haven't had a spare moment, and so haven't updated the
firmware in my PX-708s, of which I have several. It'll be interesting
to see if I can update the firmware under Linux. I don't recall if
Plextor uses Windows executables.
As far as media, DVD writable is at about the same point CD writable
was several years ago. There is great variation in quality among
different disk manufacturers and brands. For DVD+R and DVD+RW, Verbatim
is currently the best I know of.
Which reminds me of a problem I had with Verbatim DVD+RW discs. I back
up every morning to a DVD+RW disc. I have discs labeled for Monday
through Saturday and then Week 1 through Week 5 for Sundays. A couple
of Thursdays ago, K3b blew up trying to write the Thursday disc. Oh,
well. These things happen. So I replaced that disc with a blank DVD+RW
disc and continued the backup.
The following Thursday, about three minutes into the backup, K3b again
blew up with an error message about "unable to access" the disc. That
seemed a bit coincidental to me, so I carefully examined the disc
surface. There was a small but deep scratch on it. Fortunately, I tend
not to throw stuff away, so I still had the dead Thursday disc from the
preceding week lying on top of my scanner. I checked it, and sure
enough there was a deep gouge.
Apparently, a piece of grit had gotten into the sleeve for Thursday in
the Cordura CD case that I keep my backup discs in. I blew out that
sleeve and everything has been fine ever since. So it wasn't a Verbatim
disc problem after all.
- Well, she trashed Lucent, gutted Compaq, and ruined HP. I
wonder which respected US corporation Carly
Fiorina will destroy next. I've never understood why anyone would
consider Fiorina qualified to run a lemonade stand, let alone a major
corporation. It's not as though she's a Harvard MBA or has any kind of
background in technology. In fact, looking at her educational history,
she's barely qualified to touch a PC, let alone run a major technology
We should export her to China and let her destroy their entire economy.
10 February 2005
- I'm still hacking away on the new book, so to speak. I just
mailed off the third hack to my editor. I need to have 15 complete
hacks to meet a deadline next Wednesday, so only a dozen left to go...
Saturday, 12 February 2005
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 by Robert Bruce Thompson. All