Ephemerides

A Daily Diatribe by a Pompous Git

Who is that fat bastard? A Sturm's Eye View, Guaranteed Free of Harmful, or Potentially Harmful Chemicals -- but Watch Out for the Ideas! Some of them are Contagious! 

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 17 September 2001

One of the lending institutions I visited the other day has offered to mortgage The House of Steel without a Completion Certificate! I'm going to have to start believing in Santa Claus again!

Thought for the day:

I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to misattribute this quote to Voltaire. 

Avram Grumer


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Tuesday 18 September 2001

The 512 MB of PC150 SDRAM arrived today. If RAM had stayed the same cost as when I purchased  my first RAM module, it would have cost $A8,628,906.67, but of course I only paid $A158.00. As usual, it's KingMax and comes with a lifetime warranty. It's not worth the bother of saving a few dollars and getting something unreliable.

I'm so busy painting The House of Steel, I don't know when I will find time to install the RAM and the replacement hard disk that's been sitting on the shelf for a week or more. Hopefully, I will have all of the house painted by the end of the week. 

-oOo-

Found in my inbox:

Are Aussie soldiers super fit, or USA super unfit?

UNITED STATES: Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 70,502,691 (2000 est.) Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 2,056,762 (2000 est.)

AFGHANISTAN: Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 6,401,980 (2000 est.) Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 3,432,236 (2000 est.)

AUSTRALIA: Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 4,963,948 (2000 est.) Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 4,282,821 (2000 est.)

Jan Sporri

The source is the CIA World Fact Book

Thought for the day:

If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.

Hermann Hesse


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Wednesday 19 September 2001

Today was eaten by snakes... or something.

Thought for the day:

It is no great art to say something briefly when, like Tacitus, one has something to say; when one has nothing to say, however, and none the less writes a whole book and makes truth into a liar -- that I call an achievement.

Georg C Lichtenberg


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Thursday 20 September 2001

Spring in Tasmania is a mixture of weather -- warm one minute, cold and windy the next. But it's also time for eating yummy fresh asparagus and that more than makes up for the weather.

Every so often I check what terms are being used to find this website. "POMPOUS GRASS PLANTING" had me in stitches. Was that planting grass in a pompous manner, or grass with a pompous manner?

Tom Pabst of Tomshardware fame has been testing the amount of damage taken by CPUs when the heatsink falls off, or the heatsink fan fails. Personally, I wouldn't run a recent CPU with a single fan. The huge heatsink on my 700 MHz Athlon has two fans, so that failure of one is not a disaster. Most fans become audibly erratic some time before they fail completely. Fans are cheap and I always have a couple of spares on hand. Not that I buy "cheap" fans, it's just that quality fans aren't expensive compared to the grief a failed CPU causes.

Mat Lemmings recommends using Arctic Silver thermal paste between CPU and heatsink. I'll have to get some and try it now I have a thermal probe to measure component temperatures, 

Thought for the day:

I'm afraid of being lazy and complacent. I'm afraid of taking myself too seriously.

Barbara Hershey


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Friday 21 September 2001

Today we applied for a mortgage on The House of Steel. We should hear whether we have been successful early in the coming week.

-oOo-

Found in my inbox:

NEWS FLASH.....WESTERN RETALIATION HAS BEGUN.....

THE IRISH SAS HAVE STORMED BATTERSEA DOGS HOME AND KILLED ALL THE AFGHANS!

-oOo-

Jonathan:

Thank you for your comments on PhoneWorks 2000. How has this product performed for you over the last 10 months (if you still have it)?

I, like you, was impressed with RingCentral's Web site and the product's description. Again, like you, Outlook integration was what won me over to purchase this product. While the product has a grand design and most of the features I've been looking for, most of the features are poorly implemented.

For example, it's great having voice, fax, and e-mail in one Inbox. However:

1. The PhoneWorks connection to the Outlook Personal Folders file stays open even when Outlook is closed. So, you can only open your Inbox from the system running PhoneWorks. PhoneWorks should only connect to the file when it is needed. 

2. You can't forward a fax message to an e-mail address even though it's in your Inbox. You can create a rule to forward all incoming faxes to yourself which results in two copies, but that is a ridiculous work-around. 

3. You can't edit the From or Subject fields of voice or fax messages. So, if you do not have caller ID, all voice/fax messages are from no one with a subject of Incoming voice/fax message. If you can't edit the From and Subject fields, archiving the messages is useless. Again, you can forward a voice message to yourself and edit the Subject at that time, but this is, again, ridiculous.

I also found the product unreliable. My modem is one high on RingCentral's recommended list, but apparently there are other issues. Manual fax reception worked less than half the time. When it failed, PhoneWorks hung. It still responded to button clicks, but wouldn't do anything. It had to be terminated via the Task Manager. After that, it wouldn't run right until the system was restarted.

I really wanted to keep this product. I was willing overlook so many problems just to get Outlook integration. But, in the end it just didn't perform some basic operations reliably enough to use in a business environment. Too bad! I hope this product grows up. Maybe in another year it'll be worth another look.

Sincerely, Kernel Software, Inc.

Tim Sagstetter

I never managed to get the product to work properly either. RingCentral doesn't seem to care too much about that! Smith Micro's product has far less "functionality" but at least it works; that is I can send and receive faxes and voice messages.

The last few months I have been busy building my House of Steel, so my business activities have been put on the back-burner. I suspect I will go looking for a better comms solution when that's complete in another month's time. If you find something promising, I would very much appreciate your letting me know.

Hope you enjoyed browsing my website :-)

Jonathan:

Yes, I enjoyed your site. Anybody that refers to themselves as a pompous git gets my vote.

For desktop comm, we have been using Symantec TalkWorks Pro V3.0 for a couple years. This has a lot of features, but it doesn't like several other fax packages, making reception from some of our contacts very unreliable, and it is a real resource hog. Worse, Symantec has no plans to update this application to run under Windows 2000 or XP. That's why we are looking for a replacement.

As my next choice, I've downloaded a trial version of FaxTalk Messenger Pro. I'll let you know how that works out.

Ditto on my reaction to RingCentral support. I sent them 10 separate messages over a few days and after 5 days got but one canned response. Since they used to supply the OEM market only, I suspect they are used to customers having the attitude "Well what do you expect for free?"

Later . . . Tim

My experiences with Symantec have worsened to the point I no longer use any of their software. I look forward to hearing about your experiences with FaxTalk Messenger Pro.

Thought for the day:

Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords: but, like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain; and expectations improperly indulged must end in disappointment.

Samuel Johnson


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Saturday 22 September 2001

Some interesting reading:

The Counterterrorist Myth: A former CIA operative explains why the terrorist Usama bin Ladin has little to fear from American intelligence by Reuel Marc Gerecht.

"A former senior Near East Division operative says, "The CIA probably doesn't have a single truly qualified Arabic-speaking officer of Middle Eastern background who can play a believable Muslim fundamentalist who would volunteer to spend years of his life with shitty food and no women in the mountains of Afghanistan. For Christ's sake, most case officers live in the suburbs of Virginia. We don't do that kind of thing." A younger case officer boils the problem down even further: "Operations that include diarrhea as a way of life don't happen."

Fanning the Flames of Terrorism, Geov Parrish, Seattle Weekly September 20, 2001.

"There's no question that the United States, and the rest of the world, need to take forceful steps -- not just to bring Sept. 11's perpetrators to justice, but to minimize the chances that such a thing, or worse, can ever occur again. But the approach our country is apparently taking is just about guaranteed to be futile at best, and a prescription for World War III at worst."

Apart from the strange belief that Muslims are persecuted in Indonesia this is worth a read.

-oOo-

Spent most of the day painting the corridor in The House of Steel.

Thoughts for the day:

To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required, not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

John F Kennedy

It is not helpful to help a friend by putting coins in his pockets when he has got holes in his pockets.

Douglas Hurd


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Sunday 23 September 2001

Today I finally got around to installing the replacement Seagate hard disk and 512 MB of PC150 SDRAM in my workstation. Initially the machine worked fine after the changes, but on a reboot the BIOS beeped at me that I no longer had a CPU. Actually, I didn't know that was the message at the time because the usually comprehensive ASUS manual didn't include what these particular beeps meant. Initially, I went back to using one of the original DIMM modules, but that didn't work. The monitor wasn't reacting on POST, so I surmised that my video adapter may have gone west. My son runs two video adapters in his machine, so I borrowed one. No joy! Eventually, I removed the CPU and cleaned the contacts on the edge connector and Lo! it worked once more. As you can imagine, this took a lot longer to do than describe.

While Partition Magic copied the critical partitions from one drive to another, I listened to music: Blodwyn Pig's A Head Rings Out.

Thought for the day:

My riches consist not in the extent of my possessions but in the fewness of my wants.

J Brotherton


 

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Jonathan Sturm 2001

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Jonathan Sturm 2001