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 3 December 2001

From Wired News: "At the end of last year, only 5.6 percent of women engineers in Western  Europe were female." I suppose the other 94.4% were drag queens!

Thought for the day:

I am the last of England's stately homos.

Quentin Crisp


Tuesday 4 December 2001

The pain from my split lip led to me getting out of my bed around 2 am today and yesterday. rather than take more pain killers, I played Call to Power II for the first time for several months. Like all fans of turn based strategy games, I eagerly await playing Sid Meier's Civilization III. No doubt Santa will bring me a copy as he has been the source of all such games in the past. Except Alpha Centauri; I purchased that and was a little disappointed. It crashed incessantly, even with the patch I downloaded. There's probably a later patch to fix that, but I have very little time for anything but The House of Steel these days.

I notice that I have a significant increase in page reads the last few days. Since I am conscious of having considerably less energy available for writing and thinking at the moment, I assume that I have some new readers. Whoever you are, welcome and thanks for dropping by. Don't be afraid to email me and let me know what you think.

I have been offered some 4 GB Seagate scsi drives for a ridiculously low price, so once we have moved into The House of Steel I will acquire a new scsi card with a boot ROM, probably an iWill. That should make my workstation hum a bit. The 1 GB Seagate scsi drives will be attached to an old 100 MHz 486 I have here currently unused. That was a nice box when it was my workstation, faster than many of the slower Pentiums. It has 32 MB of "fast" RAM and an ATI graphics card that was the bees knees when I acquired it. It would be nice to run one of the older Linuces on it if I can get one to talk to the old Adaptec scsi card I will install in it.

A reader in Canada calling himself David offered me five 19 inch DEC monitors and a couple of STB multi display video cards as payment for the dubious privilege of reading my rants. Of course the hassle of getting them from there to here isn't worth it, but I'm happy to accept the kind thoughts in lieu of payment. Thanks David. Until PayPal gets its act together, it seems I am doomed to such. The real cost of maintaining this web isn't monetary, it's time. No matter what happens, it's likely to continue for the foreseeable future. I intend my return to revenue raising activities to be quite part time. In any event, with the imminent completion of The House of Steel, I will be renovating the cottage to enhance its price when we sell it, while I write up the complete book about building my house. It is still my intention to publish the book as an HTML document via this website on an honour payment system.

There will be a semi major update of The House of Steel page late on the weekend, complete with pictures. It would have been earlier, but the battery in my camera went flat. Externally, the house is 99.9% complete and the weekend should see some cupboard doors in place and me installing our Blum drawers.

Thought for the day:

A Code of Honor -- never approach a friend's girlfriend or wife with mischief as your goal. There are just too many women in the world to justify that sort of dishonorable behavior. Unless she's really attractive.

Bruce J Freidmen


Wednesday 5 December 2001

This morning was a session of revenue earning with my new client, Joy. I am teaching her how to use CorelDRAW! and PhotoPaint so that she can create her own sales catalogues for the jewellery business she and her husband Alan run. Alan makes the jewellery and Joy markets it. The problem for Joy is that publishing encompasses a whole host of different skills, none of which are learnt overnight. While a modern desktop computer gives anyone the capacity to do things that required a host of separate, expensive machines a decade or so ago, good results still require human skills. No computer can substitute for them.

The brochures will be printed on a Xerox high speed colour photocopier/printer. I asked the bureau what file format they preferred and the girl said, "PDF". I asked if a TIFF would be acceptable and she said, "Yes, that would be fine too." My reason for avoiding PDF was down to an experience I had several years ago when I was asked to generate a publication in PDF format. I laid the publication out with PageMaker 6.0 and as per the instructions that came with Acrobat Distiller, I generated a PostScript file for Distiller to perform its magic on. The problem was, Distiller insisted that PageMaker's PostScript was not Adobe PostScript. I eventually overcame the problem, though for the life of me I cannot remember how, nor did I write the process down anywhere. I just swore never to have anything to do with Distiller ever again. Today, I discovered that CorelDRAW! generates PDF through the export dialog, just as it generates TIFF or virtually any other file format. Doubtless this will generate somewhat smaller files than TIFF, so that's what we will do for the next test print. It's amazing how rapidly this technology improves!

Thought for the day:

Wise men don't need advice. Fools won't take it.

Benjamin Franklin


Thursday 6 December 2001

Did somebody say "Thursday?"


Friday 7 December 2001

Back in July, I wrote:

"the workstation (Win2k Pro sp2) locked up while it read or wrote interminably to the hard disk. It has done this intermittently for some time, generally for 30-60 seconds. This time it lasted for ever and when I checked back, there was a Blue Screen telling me that it was a KERNEL-STACK-INPAGE-ERROR. Bother! A warm boot resulted in the primary hdd being not found. A cold boot brought the system up and I removed RealPlayer and associated software I installed to play a RealAudio track I wanted to listen to. Whenever I install Real's stuff, BAD THINGS always ensue."

In this instance, Real was not to blame, but Seagate was. Running the Seagate diagnostic tool confirmed a dying hard disk. While this was the cause of my KERNEL-STACK-INPAGE-ERROR, it may not be the cause of Peter Collier's, who wrote to me, or those finding my web pages through the search engines using the same search string. I imagine dodgy RAM could also cause the same fault. While the Seagate diagnostic includes a generic test as well as a Seagate specific set of tests, you may prefer to download the appropriate diagnostic tool for your brand of hard disk if it uses recent error reporting technology -- SMART in the case of Seagate.


A friend has an aging P100 that does all he and his wife need, or at least it used to. The video card has died and he'd like to replace it with the same sort. It's an Aladdin BTV card with TV, CD and radio out. If any of my readers have such available, you would earn my undying gratitude.


For those enquiring after my health, my lip has healed sufficiently that I no longer have to drink through the corner of my mouth. My teeth haven't healed sufficiently to be used for eating yet, but no longer cause agony when touched. I have been sleeping normally since Wednesday.


The annual Christmas parade from Huonville to Franklin was held this evening. It was so cold we only stayed for an hour, perhaps a little less. The blackboard outside the pub said: "Spring has sprung, so where's the summer?" An excellent question! The weather forecast remains "scattered showers" and "cool" for the foreseeable future (about four days), the same as it has been for months apart from an occasional day. Piffle!


I found my longest standing friend from high school via the Internet. While his email address was stale, I found an associate and emailed them. Roland replied and reminded me of my school nickname -- JP. Even my mother took to using my nickname.

Thought for the day:

One friend in a lifetime is much, two are many, three are hardly possible. Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life, a community of thought, a rivalry of aim.

Henry Brooks Adams


Saturday 8 December 2001

Lots of new pix of The House of Steel.


Fsking bloody fsking Telstra shiteheads have disabled Message Bank on our telephone service! Not content with cutting us off from direct contact with the world for a week, they have cut us off from indirect contact while we are otherwise engaged. Fuckheads! Shit for brains!

Thought for the day:

Beware of a man of one book. 

Latin Proverb


Sunday 9 December 2001

The weather forecast: Tomorrow... Showers redeveloping in western, central and southern areas, increasing then falling as snow to the 800 metre level in the west and south tomorrow evening. Showers briefly extending to remaining areas during the morning and again later. Cool to cold with fresh to strong southwesterly winds.

Summer, bah! Humbug!

Thought for the day:

I recently read that love is entirely a matter of chemistry. That must be why my wife treats me like toxic waste.

David Bissonette 


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Jonathan Sturm 2001


Jonathan Sturm 2001