- There are now ten days until my self-imposed deadline for
having a finished book. Here's what I plan to do over the next ten days:
1. Write short introductory text for each of the three chapters,
"Observing Hacks", "Equipment Hacks", and "Accessory Hacks".
2. Assign hacks to chapters, and reorder as they'll appear in the book.
3. Shoot the images we haven't done yet.
4. Incorporate changes/comments/edits received from our editors and
others, and adding cross-references to other hacks by titles.
5. Write the preface.
6. Continue adding new, complete hacks.
I want to have the book ready to go by 1 April. Then we can use the
final ten days to add more hacks as we have time available, and to
generally polish the book and make it as perfect as possible. One way
or another, this book will be
ready to go to production on 10 April.
Have I ever mentioned that I HATE Microsoft?
I have one Windows XP system sitting here on my desk, running Windows
astronomy software. I'm using it to do screen shots for the book. This
morning, that system tells me that I have "8 days left for activation".
When Microsoft announced XP product activation, I swore I'd never go
along with that, and I don't plan to start now. That means I either
have to shoot all my screen shots in the next eight days, or re-install
Screw that. I'll just get all my screen shots done in the next eight
days and then give XP what it deserves, which is to be formatted. That
box will be running Xandros before much longer.
- We're in the end game now, with three weeks until the
drop-dead deadline for the book. I'll be busier than the proverbial
one-armed paperhanger from now until 10 April. I have 57 hacks
complete. I'd like to end up somewhere in the mid-60's, but several of
those I want to finish are rather long ones. Also, I have a bunch of
images to shoot, changes and edits to incorporate, chapter intros and
the preface to write, and so on. O'Reilly wants all the images by 3
April, which means I may end up shooting images for hacks I haven't
So you won't be hearing much from me around here until the book is
done. Even my email is stacking up. I've had time to respond only to
the highest priority messages, so my inbox is not a pretty sight.
- I sent the following message to subscribers this morning:
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [RBT] Xbox fire hazard
Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2005 08:25:22 -0500
From: Robert Bruce Thompson
I've been following this story for a couple of weeks, and as far as I
know no mention of it has been made in the mainstream media. I'm still
unsure of the complete details of the situation, but they appear to be
1. There is a design flaw in the Xbox mains power connector that causes
a fire risk. Affected Xboxes are those shipped in Europe prior to 13
January 2004 and in the US and elsewhere prior to 23 October 2003.
2. There have been numerous catastrophic failures of Xboxes.
3. Microsoft denies there is a design flaw in the Xbox, but has
recalled 14.1 million power cables. You can determine if your Xbox is
affected by visting xbox.com. If yours is one of the affected units,
Microsoft will ship you a new power cable. Microsoft refuses to replace
the Xbox units themselves.
4. The new power cable doesn't fix the problem, but merely eliminates
the risk of fire. The new power cable contains a fusable link. If the
Xbox starts to draw too much power and overheat, the fusable link
blows, preventing the Xbox from catching fire. The Xbox is still
destroyed, of course.
I don't own an Xbox, so I have no way of verifying the conflicting
comments made by Microsoft versus those made by thousands of irate
owners. But it seems prudent to discontinue the use of your Xbox, at
least until you replace the power cord.
- Things are moving right along. Here's a mock-up of the cover.
I am now in heads-down mode, so you won't be hearing much from me until
the book is finished. I don't even have time to reply to email that's
not related to the book. Sorry.
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 by Robert Bruce Thompson. All