- Marcia Bilbrey arrived yesterday afternoon for a week's visit.
She and Barbara will spend the week doing this and that while I
continue working on the book.
Originally, Barbara and Marcia had planned a trip to New England this
week. Barbara and I were going to drive up to the Bilbrey's home, where
I'd spend the week with Brian while Barbara and Marcia drove up to New
England. When it became obvious that deadlines would prevent me from
spending the week up there, Brian suggested that Marcia come down here
instead. She did, and she and Barbara have the whole week mapped out.
I'd intended to finish the chapter on power supplies and power
protection over the weekend, but it didn't happen. I'll probably not
get it finished even today. Oh, well. At this point I'm actually a bit
ahead of schedule, so the delay in finishing this chapter won't be
My ripping system, ripper,
died on Saturday. When I started it, Windows displayed a file-not-found
error during boot, which is a pretty good sign of a failing hard drive.
Rather than attempt to repair the installation, as Windows suggested, I
instead decided to replace the system.
The only good candidate was my Aria SFF system in the den, so I moved
it to my office and started to install Windows XP. That turned into a
major effort. When XP finished installing, there was no network
connectivity. No problem, I thought. All I needed to do was download a
LAN driver for the Intel D865GRH motherboard. That was a major problem,
as it turned out. Intel has changed its web site. Instead of direct
I played around with that for a while before concluding that the Intel
download site was in fact IE-only. Great. I didn't have IE installed on
any system in the house. Well, I did have it one, I finally remembered.
I'd reinstalled XP on the notebook system we use for astronomy, so I
moved the notebook to my office and plugged in a LAN cable. Of course,
the notebook is set up to be used in the dark while observing,
including deep red film covering the display, so it was difficult to
see what I was doing. But I finally got the driver I needed and was
able to get new ripper
connected to the network.
The upside is that the 3.2 GHz Pentium 4 in new ripper is more than twice as fast
at ripping and compressing as the Sempron 2800+ in old ripper--about 45 to 50 minutes to
rip an average disc for new ripper
versus about 2 hours for old ripper.
The downside is CPU temperature. At idle, the CPU in new ripper runs about 37° C or
38° C. Under full load, it runs about 70° C, which is hotter
than I'm comfortable with.
- Well, I see that Microsoft has finally noticed a
possible workaround for Massachusett's requirement for open document
formats. I thought about this the first time I read Massachusetts'
requirements, but I was hoping that no one at Microsoft would realize
that supporting PDF in Office 12 was a possible way to get past the
Massachusetts open document requirements.
Microsoft is desperate, of course. If they lose Massachusetts, that
would be the first domino toppling in a disastrous chain reaction that
topples the whole Microsoft house of cards. The only thing that
sustains the Office format lock-in is the installed base. As other
governments and corporations follow Massachusetts' lead, that
advantage disappears. Office has to compete on a level playing field,
and there's simply no way it can do that.
If the Office franchise disappears, Microsoft loses one of its two cash
cows, but it's worse than that. Without the Office lock-in, Microsoft
suddenly has to compete for both the desktop and the server room.
Office is the keystone that holds everything together, and Microsoft
simply can't afford to have that keystone threatened. They've already
pulled out all the stops to quash the Massachusetts plan. I expect
things to get really nasty.
If I were the Massachusetts folks, I'd tell Microsoft that I'd be happy
to add Office 12 to the approved list if it supports full
read/write/edit of PDF and if its default save format is PDF.
- I should have known. Microsoft says it will support PDF only
in Save-As or export form, not for editing. Their customers don't want
to edit PDFs, says Microsoft. Of course they don't want to
edit PDFs. What they want is an open document format, and Microsoft
hopes, rather pathetically, to be able to sneak into the open format
camp by offering limited support for PDF. Fortunately for everyone
except Microsoft, that's not going to cut it. The Massachusetts folks
can see right through Microsoft's smoke and mirrors.
Reading all the stories about Massachusetts and OpenDocument, I'm
struck by how many of them claim that Microsoft doesn't understand the
issue. That's insulting to Microsoft. Microsoft understands the issue
full well. Well enough to understand that widespread adoption of an
open document format would be an unmitigated catastrophe for Microsoft.
I have some advice for Microsoft. Adopt OpenDocument and make it the
native format for Office 12. Yes, you'll find that you'll have to drop
the price of Office by an order of magnitude to get any sales at all,
and yes you'll find that eventually your Office unit sales will drop to
10% of what they have been. That means your Office revenue will likely
be 1% of what it had been. But 1% is better than nothing, and nothing
is what you'll end up with otherwise.
- We're coming down to the wire now. I've submitted all but
Chapter 0, the Preface, and Chapter 1, the Introduction. I was hoping
to have those both finished by Friday, but it looks as though that will
slide into this weekend. Next week, I'll be incorporating all of the
comments and suggestions I've received from my technical editors and
subscribers, and I hope to have the final manuscript off to O'Reilly by
Friday 14 October. That'll give my editor the weekend and the first
couple days of the following week to do a final edit pass before the
book goes to production on Wednesday 19 October.
- It's down-to-the-wire time. I'm making a final push to get the
book done, and get reviewers' comments incorporated. Don't expect much
here for the next week or ten days.
- Oh, hell. They're at it again. The EU
has announced that it will snatch control of the Internet from the
US. According to the article:
the refusal to budge only strengthened opposition, and now the world's
governments are expected to agree a deal to award themselves ultimate
control. It will be officially raised at a UN summit of world leaders
next month and, faced with international consensus, there is little the
US government can do but acquiesce.
Well, the US could not
acquiesce, which is exactly what's going to happen. The US, of course,
can veto any such attempted UN action, but it goes much further. As
I've noted before, the rest of the world needs the US a lot more than
the US needs the rest of the world, and that most definitely includes
the European Union. This attempted smash-and-grab is doomed to fail.
The US will not, cannot, give up control of a critical strategic
resource. And if the rest of the world decides to proceed
without US approval, well they can have their own Internet or,
more likely, Internets. They certainly won't be welcome on ours.
As I said a few days ago, it's time and past time for a little
demonstration. Perhaps cutting off the EU--with the exception of the
UK--for a day or two and letting them suck vacuum would teach them who
- My editor just sent me another review of Astronomy Hacks.
Astronomy Hacks - Tips and Tools for Observing the Night Sky
I couldn't read a word of it (other than By, dahema, O'Reilly, hacks,
eBay, eBay, and gromit), so I ran it through the Google translator. Now
it all makes sense:
"By big river?
> >? Ryo one sending? Dahema and being attached
于 O' Reilly hacks series. 翻 Ryo 翻, 很 multi?
Heaven knowledge? Capital ignorance > road,
non-? Heaven and flower? And
associate? Leaving eBay re-? One 个 astronomical
gazing/hoping? Fruit? On
Gazing/hoping? The Ichijo engaging in
right? On resident in eBay? 据? Capital right on
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 by Robert Bruce Thompson. All