- One week to go until the book has to be ready to go to
production, so the next seven days will be very busy. The first draft
is complete, and now I'm making an editing pass, incorporating comments
from my editor, tech reviewers, and subscribers. One way or another,
it'll all be done before the 17th.
Last weekend, the hard drive in old ripper
failed. I didn't have another PATA hard drive handy, and ripper doesn't
have SATA ports, so I just swapped in another system, which happened to
be the Antec Aria-based system that had been my den system.
Unfortunately, new ripper
runs seriously hot under heavy load. I tried pulling the top and side
panels, which helped some but not enough. So I put an old room fan
right next to the case, running full speed and blowing directly on the
With the cover off but without the external fan running, the CPU
temperature is about 44° C at idle and exceeds 70° C under
heavy load. With the external fan running, the CPU temperature is about
34° C at idle and reaches 65° C under heavy load. Both of these
are with ambient temperature at 22° C. I'd simply pulled this
system from the den and put it into service in my office without
cleaning it, so there's some dust on the heatsink and elsewhere. But
that's a pretty minor factor. Short of replacing the heatsink with a
more efficient model or reducing ambient temperature, I don't think
there's anything more to be done about reducing the running
temperatures. The Northwood-core Pentium 4/3.2 simply runs that hot
under heavy load. I shudder to think what temperature a Prescott-core
Pentium 4 would reach under these circumstances.
- I was too busy yesterday to get a post up. I managed to crank
out five updated chapters, 8 through 12. That leaves me with 13 through
16, along with the Preface and Chapter 1 remaining. All of those should
be posted on the subscribers' page by Friday. Then I have a few images
left to shoot and a bit more clean-up work and things will be ready to
go to production on Monday 17 October, as scheduled. At that point,
I'll take a day or two off and then jump into the next two books, both
of which are on fairly short deadlines.
The only thing worse for an author than being too busy is not being
busy enough, and it looks as if that won't be a problem.
- The revised versions of all chapters are now posted on
the subscriber page. These versions incorporate comments from everyone
except my O'Reilly editor, Brian Jepson, whose comments I haven't yet
incorporated for chapters 0, 1, and 10 through 16. I'll have that done
in the next day or so, and update the files on the server to the -03
versions for those chapters.
But it's really pretty much all over but the shouting now.
I'm in clean-up mode. There are still a bunch of little things
remaining to be done before the book goes to production early next
week, but it looks as though I may actually be able to take a day off
I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. You *are* storing
water, aren't you? Having just finished off yet another 2-liter soft
drink bottle, I've rinsed it, refilled it with tap water, and put it at
the top of the basement stairs with several others. I figure that six
two-liter bottles is a one-day supply for Barbara, Duncan, Malcolm, and
me. I want to keep at least a one month's supply of bottled water on
hand, which means we need about 1,000 2-liter bottles.
If you're wondering about my math, well, it's not as simple as it seems
at first glance. Sure, something around 180 2-liter bottles would be a
month's supply for us, but what about our friends and neighbors? We're
certainly not going to sit here drinking our water--and giving it to
our dogs--when Gerald and Stephanie next door, not to mention their two
darling little girls, have nothing to drink. Or Jim and Naomi, or Mimi
and Steve, or Paula, or Mary, Kim, and Jasmine. Ideally, of course,
they'd be storing their own water, and I'll mention that to them. But
when it comes to storing emergency supplies, my rule has always been to
store more than I think we might need and hope that everyone else has
done the same.
If a month's supply seems excessive, well just think for a moment what
a terrorist might do to a municipal water system. I can think of half a
dozen things that are lethal in microgram quantities and easy to
produce in ton quantities. Sure, in an emergency, you could probably
store 100 gallons or more in your hot water tank, toilet tanks,
bathtubs, sinks, and so on, but what if you hear a bulletin that warns
you that you can no longer trust the water coming out of your faucets?
How long do you think it might take to get the entire system cleaned up
and flushed out? What if yours is not the only municipal water system
that's been sabotaged?
Remember the rule of threes. You can survive three minutes without air,
three hours without shelter (in very cold weather), three days without
water, and three weeks without food. It's important to take all of
those into account in your emergency planning, but for some reason
water seems to be the one that people forget about. I know people who
have literally a year's supply of food stored, but no water. They'd die
fat and thirsty.
Ordinary tap water stored in soft drink bottles stays good forever.
Don't worry about the slight remaining odor of the soft drink. Just
rinse the bottle thoroughly and refill it with tap water. You don't
need to add bleach or take other steps to sterilize it. It is, of
course, a good idea to have bleach on hand. We have gallons of the
stuff. It's cheap, and in an emergency it's very useful for sterilizing
water from a stream, pond, or lake, or even rainwater from your
downspouts. Filter the stuff first through paper towels, coffee
filters, or whatever to remove the gross contaminants and then treat it
with chlorine bleach to kill whatever microorganisms are present.
- Advice from my friend Paul Robichaux.
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2005 10:52:05 -0400
From: Paul Robichaux
To: Bob Thompson
Good points on the water storage issue, Bob. It’s hard to keep a
year’s supply of water for a family of 5, but we’re trying
to build ours up. Terrorist attack may seem unlikely, but it can
happen; more likely, your readers will run into issues with local
contamination of their water supplies by cryptosporidium or other pesky
Along those lines, in addition to our stored water we have a Katadyn
filtering unit, like the kind you’d take backpacking. It’s
small and portable, and it will filter out just about every potentially
harmful beastie you’ll encounter in North America. Well worth the
$85 or so.
Also, I would point out that, whatever your religious beliefs, the LDS
Church has some excellent resources for food and water storage. See http://www.providentliving.org
for a good deal of information, or http://www.providentliving.com
(note the different TLD) for one of the many emergency-prep businesses
run by church members.
- All of the final edits on the manuscript are finished and off
to our editor at O'Reilly. We still have a few images left to shoot
this weekend, but other than that we're finished until the
quality-control PDFs arrive. At that point, we'll be very limited in
what we can change, mostly just stuff like fixing typos. There'll
probably be two QC passes, after which the book goes to the printers. I
expect it will arrive in the bookstores soon after the first of the
Between edits, I've been struggling with ripper, which runs ripping software
and similar stuff under Windows XP. It kept crashing, and heat wasn't
the reason. That box had been running Xandros rock-solid, so I
suspected the crashes were caused by XP. I finally decided to strip the
box down to bare metal, reinstall Xandros, and see if I could get
ripping working under Linux. I didn't have much time to play with that,
obviously, but I did give it a short try.
No joy, so I decided to reinstall Windows. I just happened across a
Windows 2000 installation disc, so I decided to try running it instead
of XP. I installed W2K last night. Windows 2000 Setup took many
hours to format the hard drive, which should have warned me of
what was to come. To make a long story short, although I did get
Windows 2000 installed, it didn't recognize the gigabit Ethernet
adapter on-board the Intel D865GRH motherboard, not that there was any
reason why an OS disc that old should recognize the new Ethernet
adapter. I tried installing the Intel drivers for 82547 Ethernet chip,
but I never did get it working.
So, finally, I decided to re-install Windows XP. I had to go through
the obnoxious reactivation routine--have I ever mentioned how much
I hate Microsoft?--but I got XP installed successfully. It also
required a driver for the gigabit Ethernet adapter--same driver as
Windows 2000, in fact--but this time I got it to install with no
problems. I avoided the mistake I made last time, which was to install
all the updates, and the system now appears to be running stably.
Speaking of Microsoft problems, with the current book nearly complete,
I'm starting two more, and I'm determined not to allow the manuscripts
of these books to ever touch a Microsoft format. This time, I think I'm
going to use OpenOffice.org 2.0 and save everything in OpenDocument
format. Unfortunately, one of the books is a revision, and the original
manuscript is in Word format. I've just been trying to open those older
documents, and they're giving me fits. Not only does StarOffice 7 choke
on some of them, Word itself chokes on some of them. Nothing new there.
Word was choking on them as I was writing them originally.
I may actually end up stripping them all down to bare text and
reapplying all of the formatting from scratch. That way, I'd end up at
a starting point that Microsoft Word had never touched and could not
poison. As anyone who works with long, complex documents knows, Word
absolutely sucks. I'm determined not to let it poison any of my
documents ever again.
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 by Robert Bruce Thompson. All