A Daily Diatribe by a Pompous Git

A Sturm's Eye View

A journal of sorts to record Jonathan Sturm's (and others') thoughts and observations on things worth thinking about. Feedback welcome, but be aware that unless you prominently say you want your communication kept private, I may publish it.

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Monday 27 November

This day was eaten by The House of Steel.

Thought for the day:

Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.

Marcus Aurelius

Tuesday 28 November

The days are hot and humid and consumed mostly by The House of Steel. But it doesn't prevent me from thinking about computing or reading my email. Today I had a message from Adobe: they are not going to release FrameMaker for Linux. Linux needs mainstream applications if it's to compete with Windows on the desktop. Word Perfect Office and the CorelDRAW! suite under Wine on Linux is not an acceptable substitute for MS Office and CorelDRAW! suite running on Win2k.

Thomas's machine, Sixtus is having problems with Win2k and I don't have time to investigate. This may be a good thing as it is forcing him to learn the way I did. I suspect video driver issues as the motherboard is A-Open and we don't use cheap generic RAM. 

Thought for the day:

People must not do things for fun. We are not here for fun. There is no reference to fun in any act of Parliament.

A. P. Herbert

Wednesday 29 November

Again the House of Steel displaces all else from my thoughts. I am awake at 3 am after sleeping only 5 hours. It's now 6 am and light enough to start again. A few photographs first and then more hard labour for 12 hours.

Thought for the day:

Understand that most problems are a good sign. Problems indicate that progress is being made, wheels are turning, you are moving toward your goals. Beware when you have no problems. Then you've really got a problem... Problems are like landmarks of progress.

Scott Alexander

Thursday 30 November

Another loooooooooooooooooooong day working on The House of Steel. Thomas and his friends are planning to have a 48 hour LAN party in the cottage after we move into the new house.

Thought for the day:

I feel as if I were a piece in a game of chess, when my opponent says of it: That piece cannot be moved.

Soren Kierkegaard

Friday 1 December

We have the foundation for The House of Steel completed. I am weary to my very bones, but the most critical stage of the building is now over and a more normal pace will allow me to contemplate other things.

Thought for the day:

Constipation is the thief of time; diarrhoea waits for no man.

Saturday 2 December

I spent most of today resting my weary 49.5 year old bones. It's eight years or so since I did much in the way of physical labour, so eight days straight has left me feeling quite tired. Thursday marked the twentieth anniversary of my meeting Marguerite for the first time and we were both too busy to notice. My belt is two notches tighter than it was ten days ago. This week we ate the first shelling peas, broad beans and garlic for the season and I had to water the garden for the first time this year. Daytime temperatures hovered around 25 - 30C and high humidity. Cloudy conditions kept night-time temperatures higher than normal.

When we return the concreting tools to Michael, we admire his latest furniture -- chairs made from celerytop pine with myrtle seats. They are comfortable and beautiful. He varnishes one as he is just as anxious to see the result as we are. He has also made a table in the same style as the one we have ordered for our new home, but using sassafras rather than myrtle. He has more of the sassafras with similar figuring and offers to make ours from it if we wish, but I am adamant about the myrtle. Michael has had problems with visitors demanding furniture made from our tiger myrtle.

The silly season is upon us I notice. It was graduation for the students of The Wooden Boat Building School and Ruth handed me her camera with a request to photograph the students receiving their diplomas. There's not much light in the room and the camera has a third of a roll of 200 ASA film left in it so I can't get my lab to push it to 800 without making the earlier pictures overexposed. Leaning against the wall to compensate for the 1/15 second exposure time I get prickled by the fake holly that also partially obscures the view. So, I crouch for each exposure and find it increasingly difficult to rise after each shot.

Speaking of photography, I have three rolls of film exposed awaiting the trip to the big city on Tuesday. The pictures are of the launch of Honeywood, the wooden boat these students built and the preparations for The House of Steel. At the launching of Honeywood, the students were as weary as I am now. The last six weeks before launch were 16 hour days to meet the deadline. She looks and sails beautifully. I saw her sailing along the river Friday evening on the way to the Book Reading Club Christmas dinner.

The trip to the city is on Tuesday as it's enrolment at college for Thomas. Another milestone. 

I only just noticed that I failed to update the redirector to this week's Ephemerides page. I can only plead tiredness! Sorry readers!

Thought for the day:

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.

Jane Howard

Sunday  3 December

It took a while to get through my backlog of email, but I'm nearly there. An interesting one from Intel:

Hello Jonathan,

We're sorry. We made an error and recently sent you an e-mail regarding Intel(R) WebOutfitter(SM) Service. As an Intel(R) Home Computing Newsletter subscriber you should have received the new Intel(R) Home Computing Newsletter, which you'll find below.

We will make every effort to ensure that this mistake does not occur again. Our apologies for any inconvenience we may have caused you. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns please contact our Customer Service department.

I'm subscribed to more newsletters than I have time to read. I suspect that I somehow became subbed to Intel's when I registered my Intel iStation56k. It's nice to know that they care enough about my feelings to apologise for something I hadn't even noticed. The Home Computing Newsletter extols the virtues of the P4 for home computing... 


Do you have a mailing list? Would be nice to get your journal daily. Lori

Given that I forgot to update my redirector to this page until Sunday, managing a daily email newsletter could well be beyond my abilities <weak grin>.  I'll consider it if there's enough demand and when my son Thomas finishes his current PHP project that will automate such things.


On Monday I took delivery of a shiny, brand new Stihl brushcutter. Stihl is one of the top brands in the area of such things and most of the chainsaws around here are Stihl. They are rugged and reliable. Today I needed to replace the cord in the cutting head, so I referred to the instruction manual. The manual said to read the instructions in the manual that came with the cutting head, but there was no such beast. I asked two of my neighbours and they professed ignorance and despite their extensive experience of things mechanical, it was not obvious how to do so.

The Internet turned up an on-line instruction sheet on how to replace the cord on Stihl's Autocut head, but not the Supercut that came with mine. No matter how I threaded the cord, it fed out too fast. Marguerite pointed out that if it was a photocopier, the instructions would have been inside the cap that covers the head!


I note that Service Pack 2 for Office 2000 was released this week. Be warned, it contains the notorious Outlook Security Fix. Once the Fix is in place, it cannot be un-placed and double-clicking attachments will no longer open them. Fortunately, Office 2000 is at least as stable as Office 95 and I have found no bugs that need fixing with SP2.


The House of Steel team gained a new member today. Tony Dunshea loves steel and is going to fabricate the special trusses for the gutter and the "feet" that will attach the pipe to the concrete. He had several sensible suggestions for making construction easier, cheaper and stronger. 


Nicholas Petreley is claiming that the reason Win2k is so stable is that Microsoft used Linux code! It's time to get off the drugs that stimulated the creation of Unix at Berkley in the late sixties, Nicholas. They may have inspired an interesting OS, but the writing is pure BS.

Thought for the day:

I don't hate Linux, just the people who use Linux. OK, I'm kidding. Sort of.

Paul Thurrott


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Jonathan Sturm 2000

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