WEEK 4 July 6 - 12, 1998

11:30 AM

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Monday, July 6, 1998 through -- July 12

A new experiment in mail. We will see how it works. To keep download times shorter we will put up mail by days, but then at the end of the week consolidate into one archive for that week.

I had a neat little animated dirigible symbol for mail, but it added 14 seconds to the download time. Too much, so I killed it. Pity.

NOTICE: I have had my last crash trying to remove div and /div tags to get the stupid boxes out of my normal view of this stuff. In general I DO NOT WANT mail in HTML formats, and I ESPECIALLY DO NOT WANT MAIL WITH the verdamnt div tags!  Please do NOT do this any longer!!!

Today removing them crashed Front Page. I don't have the time to waste on this. I don't. Please.


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MONDAY, July 6, 1998

Begin with this, and work backwards:


From: Keith Irwin []

Sent: Monday, July 06, 1998 9:15 PM

To: Jerry Pournelle

Subject: How Wide is my Valley


Just caught the new VIEW.HTML, and it’s very wide on IE4, at 1024x768. A quick scan of the source shows another one of those HUGE blockquote nests on the signature of: Harry Draijer. Perhaps there are others, but that’s as far as I looked.

Keith Irwin

U of NT

There were a bunch of those block quote things in there. The odd part is that in Front Page, BEFORE I "published" that, both Preview and "Normal" (i.e. editing) view of that page showed it to be percentage width, tracking anything I set it to. Then I published it and whammo. I have fixed and republished, and I will in future look for all those block quotes before I do anything at all. Again, thanks for all the help.

From: MagnaStor []

Sent: Monday, July 06, 1998 2:53 PM




Subject: View organization


Time to move on from what is basically an amatuerish web site set up to something a bit more professional, especially if you are going to try to make some money from it.

Serve your web pages from a Linux box running Perl code to generate the pages. The basic HTML format is written into the code. At the appropriate points, the code opens, reads and inserts the content from text files on your local machine. You simply update (or replace) the text files with a text editor (or word processor).

The rule is - content guys do content. Web administrators do web sites.

And save your money on these clunky Front Page thingees.

The P-code goes like this:

User clicks on link for ‘View From Chaos Manor’ Perl code initiates Perl code generates HTML headers, formats, etc.

Perl code retrieves Dr. P’s content from text file and stores it in a variable

Perl code inserts the variable into the HTML

Perl code ends the HTML document

Document is returned to User

If you want to change the format, your web administrator makes changes to the Perl code in one place.

Good luck.

Don Martin

MagnaStor Technical Services

I am sure you're right. What you are saying is that I give this up entirely, since I don't HAVE a web administrator and professional artists and people paid to do all this. I have my son Alex, and David Em, neither of whom I can pay anything and both of whom are trying to get a book done (and that's far more important that playing around with this stuff). As to a Linux box, first I have to build one. I expect you are right. This looks like silly amateur night here, and it's probably amusing to real professionals, and I ought to stop wasting my time. Thanks.

From: Greg Neumiller []
Sent: Saturday, July 04, 1998 4:20 PM
To: Jerry Pournelle
Subject: white on blue text

Insert the following between the "title" and "body" tags:

<STYLE TYPE="text/css">

A:link { color: white }

A:visited, A:active { color: red }

You'll need to have your backround color set to someting other than white, or the above will only show links that you've visited or have just clicked on.

The above "style" tag is part of HTML 4.0, and all major browsers suport it just fine.

There are other ways of accomplishing the same, but I find this to be the easiest to implement.

Sorry I don't have a solution for FrontPage, but I gave up on it the first time I used it.  I've found that Notepad works best for me.

I tried all that and a lot more, but apparently there is no white on blue that looks right to everyone. I've decided to stay with my black on parchment. I'd be interested in other experiments on color and readability, but I think this is about the best compromise I have found.


From: Bo Leuf []

Sent: Saturday, July 04, 1998 9:51 AM




Subject: HTML WYSIWYG editor


Dear Jerry,


I suffer with you as you write about all these imbecilic implementations of so-called html-editors. The process can be painful beyond belief as the implementation (or lack) gets between the writer and the intended text.

This may seem strange, but the best (see below why I think so) such editor I’ve tried is in fact the freeware one you can lift from the AOL site. Now called AOLPress, it was originally developed as GNNPress. The URL is:


Note: you want "AOL*Press*", not their normal AOL browser.

Reasons why I recommend AOLPress:

. Foremost, I think it is an example of a program that won’t get in your way, yet still produce compliant html pages. You can write directly in the program, import text or html, paste in from other programs, and all with a fair bit of optional control of how this gets done. I recommend you try it.

. It’s fast, and has configurable toolbar, and keyboard shortcuts for most everything. The bottom line is that you can write/import text and produce compliant HTML pages quite transparently. Images, tables, backgrounds and such are supported with intelligent dialogs, optional import of image to current home directory, etc.

. multiple undo, autosave, and can automatically recover a changed page in the rare event one edits the page into such a mess that the editor crashes. (I prefer to manually Ctrl-S at critical points.)

. cut&paste of entire links, and optionally of only the invisible URL-part (great for inserting [editable] multiple links that are the same or nearly the same). That’s how I manage my Amazon links—load their search-result page (in AOLPress) and copy/edit the links from this to my own page with chosen titles.

. normally "WYSIWYG" style editing (multiple windows), text import, image management, and HTML conformance. The conformance test can be set for either Mozilla (Netscape, and oddly enough what Word uses for the most part) or HTML 3.2 (preferred), and type of filesystem (to trap illegal filename references).

. HTML-mode editing of any page with "raw" load and save for those instances when you use extended tags or something in the needed syntax (e.g. some CGI commands) that goes against the conformance test of the editor. Conformance forcing would not "eat" anything in the way you describe for FP and Word however. There is some informative feedback in terms of allowing you to view the highlighted "problems" detected (typically incorrect tag or wrong tag order) and even choose to ignore the problem (may be an extended tag).

. halfway decent spellchecker that can learn or ignore.

. "miniweb" concept, where you can graphically inspect (with filters) how pages and external links interconnect (links-to, links-from, or both), and from there launch any page for editing. This view can give interesting insight into site structure. Web views can also be nested.

. full linktesting, even external ones (AOLPress is in itself a very capable browser).

. "global" search(&replace) of all local pages in a miniweb. This is much more powerful than one thinks, as it can be pointed at either visible text (skip tags) or the actual html-source (text and tags).

Note that AOLPress does not render the most rescent html features, nor animate the animated gifs, but this is not a bad thing actually, since a lot of other browsers won’t either. So what you see is the "vanilla" version of the page. To check the extra features one points the browser of choice on the finished page.



Bo Leuf <>

Daggskimmer fc3

THANKS. I'll give it a try, but it may be a while. It does look as if I have the problem solved: write in WORD, paste into Front Page, using a Front Page Template to build the new page, While in WORD be sure the whole thing is in "Normal" style, and do not center lines used as separators. Doing all that does seem to solve the unbearable wideness of being...

Sent: Saturday, July 04, 1998 9:28 AM
Dear Jerry -

I have been trying not to clutter up your mail, but have to send these bits:

I use a Portrait Radius monitor with Win95 as I do a lot of writing and like to see a whole vertical page when I am working in Word. I will put two monitors on the system Real Soon Now when I can, but, in the meantime, don't have a big monitor. When I download your pages and print them out to read at breakfast (Jerry Pournelle having taught me that ALL things computer should be EXACTLY the way I want them) the right side of the sentences is chopped...badly. I tried reducing the font in Netscape which seems to work onscreen, but not when I print the pages out.

I print out View and Mail etc. and was struggling over breakfast this morning when I hit your WEB CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE page for 6/27/98 and - Boom - all the type from there on fit perfectly and I could stop guessing about the ends of the sentences. Hope this helps...

Re: Money - I sent in my $10 and you are most welcome. Because of your mentions of Millicent I went to the Web page

and it looks as though Millicent is there if not almost there?

Re: Screen color - Thank you for the Pournelle Word screen - white on blue - I could not live without it. So I vote for that on your Web page, of course. Also does the parchment take up more memory? Also - a plain background is easier to read. Just my vote - I will read whatever you write.

Re: Delivery - This is my vote for what I would like - and I would pay for each component and choice ie. $10 for this and $5 for that etc.

Your page delivered to my E-Mail address every Friday (for Saturday breakfast.)
Being allowed to choose the parts - All of View - All of Mail - All of Alex - All of Eric - All W98 - All Office etc.
That left hand column you are fighting for could lead me to go after other stuff - a great way to entice me to spend more money and to order your books for 5 or 6 family and friends who cannot live without them. (2 copies of Starswarm are in storage for Christmas already.)

Re: Computer books - I have your early ones - and read them when I understood about 1 word in 6. You can make money doing those too.

One of your readers suggested Woody's site. I think I originally found out about that from you. He is on to a good thing and uses his site to promote his books. He does not charge for the site (building up a mailing list, I guess), but could. His books are the only ones that come close to yours. Greedy us want more. Please.

Charlotte Morrill

Charlotte R. Morrill

Thanks on all counts. Millicent may get there yet. It would certainly solve all my problems about money: a dime a week, paid by clicking once on a subscribe page. Darnell is already set to handle Millicent. So far they do not have a broker, but it will happen. When it does, Dvorak and I will also start our weekly debate (at another dime or so I think). Until then, I'm learning the trade. Sort of. Almost.

I like white on blue a lot too, and maybe when things are better organized we will be able to automate it so that you have a choice. At the moment this is going to have to be it.

As to weekly mailings, once I learn how to make mailing lists from Outlook -- it appears to be possible, but tedious, involving external programs -- I will give that some thought.

Thanks for the support.

Stay well,


Sent: Saturday, July 04, 1998 9:42 AM
Dear Jerry -

Yes, Netscape and AOL DID do a Bad Thing. I have removed it twice now because I upgraded Netscape and it stuck the Nasty Thing in my systray again. You go to StartUp and it is there. If you have Tweak U (I think that is where I got it) you can right click on the files to find where they are. I was so horrified and angry at N & A that I just banged away at it. You are right, Add/Remove does not touch it. This is a messy message, but, you can remove it. I think the way I found the files was that I saw that they were in the Netscape folder when I used Start/Programs/Netscape. So I went into Explorer and right clicked on every Netscape file until I found the offenders. There are several, but when you find them they all have similar names. I just deleted them and let the chips fall. It was OK.


Charlotte R. Morrill

Apparently most any method works, but some don't work forever, and on some installations it's dangerous. Anything you have to remove with regedit ought to get your permission before installing itself. Apparently Netscape -- this was a PAID FOR COPY OF NETSCAPE -- thought sticking advertising into their product in such a way as to intimidate users and prevent their removing it was a very clever thing to do. That way lies Chapter 7.

From: John Rice []

Sent: Friday, July 03, 1998 9:05 PM




Subject: WEb Design




I read with interest your problems trying to merge Microsoft Word and Frontpage into a design/maintenance process for your web. I hate to say it, but it reads like ‘trying to pound a nail with a screwdriver’.

Word was never designed to be a WEB development tool, and I don’t think that you’ll find anything from Microsoft that says that it’s supposed to be used that way. Word is designed to convert word documents into HTML, in order to make it convenient to publish them on a web, and that’s all it’s really designed to do, and probably all it will ever do. Trying to force it to be something that it’s not isn’t going to work.

I don’t understand why you’re having trouble with FP being slow. I run FP97 on three different computers (2 Windows95 and 1 NT) and have never seen that problem, including when running it on our DELL Dual Pentium 200 NT server at work.

I’m a regular

‘lurker’ on 4 Microsoft FP/WEB related newsgroups and have never seen that complaint.

I might suggest that you spend some time in the microsoft.public.frontpage.client usenet newsgroup, you’ll find more knowledgeable ‘working’ web designers and support people there than you will at Microsoft (or Netscape).

I loaded your Mail page into FP97 on my P133 and editing response was as fast as in Word. I might suggest that as an experiment, you install Frontpage on one of your single chip machines and compare. I think there’s some ‘basic’ incompatibility in that Compac Dual Processor machine, but I sure don’t know what it would be.

I would suggest that you separate your Word and FP efforts. Use FP for what it does best - Page design and layout - and if you must use Word to create the’content’, do so, but just cut and paste the result into Frontpage. I think that will be alot faster and easier than continuing to fight with it, and you’ll be able to produce more consistent results with a lot less frustration.

As a parting note - Your WEB is a perfect example of a place where ‘content’ is far more important than ‘pretty’. I’d much rather see you spend your limited time working on organization and ‘content’, rather than ‘pretty’ <grin>. If you don’t ‘weaken’ and give it all up I’ll be more than happy to ‘contribute’ more support than just picking up a copy of Starswarm (got it).

Best Luck

John Rice

Actually, now that I have got the "normal" conversion habit before I copy stuff over to Front Page, Word is a pretty good tool for this. I can even import html files, select them (easily done in Word with the F8 key) and convert to "normal" which removes all the odd formatting. But I sure agree, content is better than pretty. On the other hand I am trying to learn pretty.

But I don't know why Front Page is so blooming slow for me. In a bit I will test this on Blurple, the Intergraph 266 mhz NT system. And later on the Win 98 machine I am building. We'll get there...

Thanks, and stay well,


From: Rod Montgomery []

Sent: Saturday, July 04, 1998 11:36 PM




Subject: MS Word vs HTML


This is speculation on my part, but I suspect Word doesn’t "remove" codes from your HTML so much as "drop" them.

Rather, I suspect that the first thing Word does, when you point it at a document in HTML, is translate the document into Word’s internal representation. And I further suspect that that representation has no place to hold the codes whose disappearance distresses you. So, in doing the translation, Word just cheerfully ignores whatever it sees in the HTML that it doesn’t understand.

So, when you tell Word to write the document as HTML, and Word translates it back from Word’s internal representation—the codes, they are disappear!

So fixing this problem is not just a matter of stopping Word from removing the codes. It’s more a matter of reworking Word’s internal representation for text to make a place for the codes.

I expect you've got some of it. My method now is to do this work in WORD, be sure it is all in a normal format with no greatly nested block quotes, and then copy and paste. It seems to be working. Thanks for thinking about it for me.

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THIS FOR COMPLETENESS. You have seen it before.


From: Harry Draijer []

Sent: Monday, July 06, 1998 5:20 AM


Subject: Frontpage sluggishness

Jerry Pournelle,

I am truly sorry to hear BYTE was folded recently. For years I have found BYTE to be spending attention to future developments, instead of next weeks program coming out. Subjects like quantum computing and the NUI, are the kind of stuff that made me read BYTE with pleasure. And of course I always saved your column as a sweet desert. Always enjoyed it. All in all I find the Jerry Pournelle website a great idea.



For updating my website I use Frontpage express. It is a small version of Frontpage, and is included in IE4.0. It has the same kind of problem you mention. I have found it to be caused by the tables. Apparently when a column of a table has no fixed size, Frontpage is reformatting the whole table at every insertion of a key stroke. This tends to get more and more sluggish as the page size increases.


Make your web pages smaller. This may sound odd. But why not have a page for each week with links to a single page for every day.


1- frontpage works quicker

2- it makes updating the website easier. Put every week in a seperate subdirectory.

3- link colour coding makes it easier for your site visitors to find which days they have already read.

Of course I agree Microsoft should pay some attention to speeding up Frontpage.

Kind regards,

Harry Draijer


Harry Draijer

University Twente

Mechanical Engineering

Production & Engineering Design

P.O. Box 217

7500 AE Enschede

The Netherlands

Phone: +31.53.4892472

Fax: +31.53.489.3471


And thank you. However, your letter like to drove me crazy; It has a ton of wide things in it that kept the table width too wid. I don't know what all it was. I think I have got them all, and people won't have to scroll on normal VGA now. Sheesh that takes a long time!

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From: Vollmer, Denis T []

Sent: Monday, July 06, 1998 3:05 PM

To: ''

Subject: View organization

I would suggest using frames instead of a table. This will eliminate many of your problems (and probably cause others). I sent you a frame version of the your view section last week. If you did not recieve it or need more information, I would be happy to oblige. It would be possible for you to keep links to the previous weeks in the navigation frame.

D. Todd Vollmer

Software Engineer

Lockheed Martin Mission Systems

The problem is that as soon s I mention frames I get more complaints. Some people apparently have real problems with them.

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From: Bernay Dusek []
Sent: Monday, July 06, 1998 4:21 PM
Subject: line width

has anyone else complained about having to use the arrow keys on every line because the margins are too wide.  about 6 or 8 characters wider than my screen.  maybe there is a setting i could change in my IE4 browser.


About two hundred, approximately. I am dancing as fast as I can.



TUESDAY July 7, 1998


From: MagnaStor []

Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 1998 7:04 AM

To: Jerry Pournelle

Subject: Re: View organization


You’ve been hanging around too many lawyers, I think. You’re getting peevish. If you look up ‘amateur’ in the dictionary, you’ll find it’s a good thing.

And besides, this is the Internet, remember? If you need help, ask for it.

There’s a hundred people who would voluntarily do the code for you.

Just do it like a RFC. Put up a separate page that lists the equipment you’ll be using and what you want to be able to do. And ask for proposals.

Something like:

Red Hat Linux server v. 5.1

Perl 5

Apache Web Server

The site should have an opening page with links to:

Chaos Manor Musings

Alex’s Page

Graphics Page


The linked pages should be CGI driven. The page authors should be able to update their columns via a web browser. Security for updates should be spelled out. Etc. People could work up prototypes on their own pages for yu to visit and evaluate.

Doc, people would do the code just for the credit at the bottom of the opening page. Really.

Don Martin

MagnaStor Technical Services

Well you may be right on all counts. You may well have described what Darnll is working on; I've been sort of laboring in the vinyards all by my lonesome here while he finishes teaching one course and taking another, and we all have our livings to make. Thanks. And I know people will work on this stuff for me. Sometimes astonishingly.

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A short observation by David Em:


From: David Em []

Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 1998 2:29 AM


Subject: linux

Much as we are devoted to NT for most Graphics applications, if you’re doing Serious Graphics (like ye major motion picture) it’s still a Unix. world. Nt is crashable with surprising regularity.


David Em

voice: (626) 355-1425

studio: 55 West Sierra Madre Blvd.

Suite 112

Sierra Madre

CA 91024





From: David Cefai []

Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 1998 10:22 AM

To: ''

Subject: Creating Mail lists

Dear Jerry,

Long message, but an honest attempt to help.

I emailed you last night and have spent a little time with Outlook 98 today. I cannot reproduce your problem! Are you using Outlook 97? With my copy of Outlook 98 when I double click on the sender name in a message I get a properties box like this:


If I right click on the name I get this:


If I click on Add to Personal Address Book it just adds it, no fuss.

Duplicate entries are ignored.

The problem is more in putting addresses into groups.The only way to do this seems to be to first have addresses in the book, then select New Entry , Personal Distribution List, OK, Add/Remove Members. You can then use the members button to copy names into the Personal Distribution list:



This probably won’t make any sense unless you have Outlook 98. If you do then I cannot explain the differences between what you see and what I see.

The whole thing works very fast ( unlike everything else in Outlook) on a 200MHz Pentiom with 32MB RAM.

I hope I have been of some use. If you don’t have it, I suggest you do try Outlook 98.

David Cefai



From: Robert Bruce Thompson []

Sent: Monday, July 06, 1998 7:29 AM

To: 'Jerry Pournelle'

Subject: Outlook address problem solved...


I took the holiday weekend off, but as usual I couldn’t stay away from the computers.

I didn’t have anything else that I felt like doing, so I spent a couple of hours yesterday messing around with your mail problem. I must say that I don’t find Outlook’s inability to convert a bunch of mail messages to a list of addresses as surprising a lack as you obviously do. I thought you were a bit hard on the designer. Most people add addresses to their address books retail rather than wholesale, and the Outlook method is very convenient for doing that.

However, I was able to come up with a method that works every time. It’s convoluted, to say the least, and uses Pegasus mail as an intermediary.

Here’s how it works:

1. In Outlook, choose File - Import and Export to invoke the Wizard. Choose export to a file and specify the type as CSV (Windows). Specify the folder to be exported and save it under any name, with a .csv extension.

2. Locate that file in NT Explorer and double-click it. Windows invokes Excel and displays each mail message from the folder as a row. Cut all of the columns except the two that contain the alias and the email address. Save the file as tab-delimited (*not* comma delimited) using a .txt extension.

3. Download the latest version of Pegasus Mail from and install it. I got the 32-bit version of 3.01a. Fire up Pegasus Mail and create an address book. I named mine "junk". With the new address book open, choose Addressbook from the main menu (this item doesn’t appear unless an address book is selected) and then choose "import tab-delimited". At this point, you have all of the addresses from the mail folder in Pegasus address book format.

4. Grab the Pegasus <-> Eudora converter from and run peg2eud.exe to convert the Pegasus address book to a Eudora address book. I’ve attached the conversion utility.

5. Fire up Outlook again, and choose File - Import and Export to start the

Wizard. Choose "Import Internet mail and addresses" and then pick the "Eudora Pro and Lite" item. Clear the mail checkbox and leave the addresses check box marked. If you have Eudora installed, the Wizard finds its location in the Registry. Otherwise, it lets you browse for the folder location. Pick the folder where you stored the converted address book. You can specify whether to import the addresses to Contacts or to your Personal Address book. I specified to not import duplicates, and it worked fine. When one address appeared more than once in my original mail folder, it imported the first one and ignored the others.

You may not need to go through the routine with Pegasus. Eudora may be able to do this on its own. However, I don’t have Eudora installed at present, and I’m not a Eudora expert. However, the process I’ve outlined does work reliably. Once I figured out how to do it, it only took me about 10 minutes to complete the whole process for a folder that had several hundred messages in it.



Robert Bruce Thompson


 Which will work, but it turns out you can do it a bit more simply than that. It's interesting how arcane this all is.


From: Robert Paterson []

Sent: Sunday, July 05, 1998 8:02 PM

To: ''

Subject: Creating Mail lists

Dr Pournelle,

I’m afraid this involves a bit of fiddling around....

Go into Outlook 98, choose File, Import and Export...

Export to Excel format your current contacts list, if you don’t have one just add a single contact with an email address. Call this file MailListTemplate (or whatever).

Export to Excel the contents of your ‘MAIL LIST’ folder. Delete out all columns except FromName and FromAddress (C and D when I did it..). Call this ExportedMailList.

Go back to MailListTemplate, and clear the contents of all the cells except the field names in the first row. Go to ExportedMailList and select the FromName collumn (except for the cell that contains the text ‘FromName’). Paste this selection into MailListTemplate under FirstName collumn. Go back to ExportedMailList and select FromAddress cells (except for ‘FromAddress’ text) and paste this into the EmailAddress collumn (well over to the right, collumn BE on my test) in MailListTemplate AND into the EmailDisplayName collumn.

Now go back to Outlook 98, choose File, Import and Export.... Import from a file, Excel format, choose your contacts folder (or create a new folder) and "Bob’s your Uncle".

Hope this helps without heartache.


Robert Paterson


That turns out to look the easiest of all. I have not have time to try any of these but the Excel method looks good. But what a painful way to do something simple! Why do they not design these things to do USEFUL stuff?


WEDNESDAY July 8, 1998

More on OUTLOOK and files


From: Werth, Timothy []

Sent: Monday, July 06, 1998 9:38 AM


Subject: Outlook file locations


 The default file extensions for the Outlook mail file is ".pst", with the default filename being "Outlook.pst". However, if you have an existing .pst file somewhere on your hard drive, i.e. from Microsoft messaging or the Microsoft Exchange client being previously installed, then Outlook will usually default to the existing .pst file. You can find the file one of two ways. One is to search your C: drive for any files with a *.pst extension.

 The other way is to go into Outlook with a mail folder open, then select "File", "Services", then highlight "local mail" (or whatever you named your local mail file when you setup Outlook) and choose "properties" (double clicking on "local mail" will also bring up properties). The path for your pst file is the 2nd line.

I am in OUTLOOK now and I cannot find any file/services there is no services menu item in my menu. I wish there were something like what you said there. Do you know how to find this?

As far as importing the names from e-mail addresses to do a mailing list I don’t know how to do that one. Never needed to do anything like that before. I always enjoy what you write, keep up the hard work. Already bought Starswarm and read it in one day. Good book. As you say, be well.

Tim Werth

(913) 491-2558 [8/559]

 From: Werth, Timothy []

Sent: Monday, July 06, 1998 2:59 PM

To: Jerry Pournelle

Subject: RE: Outlook file locations


Sorry for the mistake, it’s "Tools", "Services", then highlight "local mail" and choose properties. You can also compact your pst file from the same screen.

I thought the right thing but typed the wrong menu item, sorry.


 From: Jerry Pournelle []

Sent: Monday, July 06, 1998 4:14 PM

To: Werth, Timothy

Subject: RE: Outlook file locations

 There’s no ‘services’ under tools. I looked there the first time. Have we different versions?


From: Werth, Timothy []

Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 1998 9:17 AM

To: Jerry Pournelle

Subject: RE: Outlook file locations


<< File: Outlook 98.doc >> Jerry,

The version of Outlook I’m currently using is 8.5.5104.6 which is the latest & greatest that I know of. I’ve used and setup every version of Outlook from the original Outlook 97 thru 8.02, 8.03, and now Outlook 98 which is 8.5. The only time I’ve found that "Services" wasn’t under the "Tools" menu was when there was no pst file on a local hard drive and no mail services had been setup. From what you describe you’re definitely using mail services with Outlook so I don’t know why "Services" wouldn’t be under "Tools". This should be there whether you’re using Internet Mail (which I use at home) or if you’re on an Exchange Server.

I’ve included some printscreens in a Word 97 document of where "Services" is under "Tools". If your copy of Outlook doesn’t have this command then my guess is that Outlook was setup in a way that I’ve not come across yet. When you searched your hard drive for *.pst did you find any files? The other thing to check is "Delivery" which is also under "Services" to see where your mail files are being delivered. But if you can’t find "Services" then that’s out of the question, plus that should only be applicable if you’re on an Exchange server. I don’t know Jerry, you’ve got me stumped. I searched Microsoft’s Knowledge Base on their web site and didn’t find anything that looked like this either??? Let me know what you find, I’m curious.



From: Jerry Pournelle []

Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 1998 10:19 AM

To: Werth, Timothy

Subject: RE: Outlook file locations


Fascinating. Mine has ‘accounts’ where yours has services. There is no mail service. The PST file is under WINNT40 and just sits there. It gets bigger and bigger al the time. I don’t know where it belongs, just where it is. Thanks for taking the trouble. I’ll have to figure this one out. I don’t have any internal mail service, the only mail Outlook deals with comes from outside because we don’t have any need for internal email. Maybe I should try to fool it into setting up something like that?

I have been given some complex ways to export mail through excell to make a list.



 From: Werth, Timothy []

Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 1998 3:09 PM

To: Jerry Pournelle

Subject: RE: Outlook file locations


While I’m thinking about it there are a couple of other things about the size of the pst file you might want to watch out for.

By default Outlook does not permanently delete items that are in the ‘Deleted Items’ folder. They just sit there until you delete them manually. This setting can be changed under Tools, Options. (Provided of course your copy of Outlook has ‘Options’ under the Tools menu)

By default ‘Journal’ keeps a running record of almost everything you do related to Office 97. That can be handy but I don’t need to know every time I opened an Excel or Word file. Also, over time ‘Journal’ can increase the size of your pst file a great deal. One of the first settings I change when I install Outlook now is to go into ‘Journal’ and unclick everything I can find.

I don’t use my mail file as an archive. Some people do but I’ve always tried to discourage this. My opinion is that anything over 100 MB is asking for trouble whether it is a pst mail file or an Access database. If you look on Microsoft’s web site there is a LOT of info and tools on how to recover a corrupt pst file. I consider that warning enough.

If you want to move your pst file to a data directory you can do it. Just close Outlook and then move the file to whatever directory you want, mine is in C:\My Documents\Mail Files. The next time you start Outlook it will tell you the personal folder is no longer where it was and ask where another pst file is. Just open the new directory, click OK and Bob’s your Uncle. ;-) You can also move your Personal Address Book ( .pab) the same way basically, it’s just the first time you send a message it will ask for the location of the .pab file.


Hope some of this helps.




Helps a lot, and thanks. I'll put this whole exchange up in MAIL.

  = = = =

A Message about Commander



Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 1998 12:44 AM


Subject: commnanmder

From: Tad Parks <>

Date: Sun, 05 Jul 1998 00:58:36 -0400

Subj: Followup on Norton Commander


WhiDear Mr. Pournelle,

First off I do want to thank you for your excellent reply concerning Norton Commander in a Windows version.

Taking your advice, I called Symantec, and without any hassle was able to order same. $69.95 plus shipping, etc. About $84. Perhaps a little pricey, but .... It came within the week by UPS 2nd day air. And is now installed.

As mentioned in my earlier email, I have been using Norton items ever since Disk Look 1.2 (and I let the young lady on the phone know that too!). And Norton Commander has been a very important tool to me. The last I had was Version 4.0 for DOS. Apparently there were versions inbetween that and the current shipping version, since reference is made to a Version 5. and a version for Windows (3.1) within the manual. The current version is labeled variously Norton Commander for Windows 95/NT 4.00 and is an upgrade version, so you must have DOS versions 3.x, 4.x, 5.x or 1.x for Windows. This version is labeled on the ABOUT screen as 1.0.2. While the license page is labeled February 1994, there is a 1996 copywrite; Files are dated 10/01/96, but the html page included is dated 12/6/96.

The nicest thing I like about this rework is that while it is in 32 bit design, they have kept much if not most of the look and feel of the previous versions. Something that I appreciate greatly. I hate it when WIN9x people think they have to go wild with cutesey icons, flashing boxes and all the rest. This standing by their faithful users was a great relief. I don’t have time to completely relearn a product that I have used, because of a totally new and different interface.

So, I am quite happy. Thank you again for the appropriate direction and speedy and to the point reply. To be able to get desired information within the computer world, (beyond stupid FAQs for novices) is seemingly an impossible task. I am tired of talking with technical support people who apparently know less about products than I do!

Wishing you must good fortune in the future, and also looking to seeing you column somewhere soon,I remain.


Tad Parks,

I am still very fond of Commander. And I have both the old DOS and the new Windows versions up on both 95 and NT machines. The DOS viewers are incredibly handy.


A Mess of Stuff about Getting found by keyword engines.


From: Robert Bruce Thompson []

Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 1998 7:05 AM

To: 'Jerry Pournelle'

Subject: Getting the word out ...

<< Ok, how do you get the word out that the way to find out what happened with BYTE and CMP is to come here? I bet there are a lot of BYTE readers who would like to know. Only how to you tell them? >> I think the first thing you need to do is put a "keywords" meta-tag in the source for your index page. The one from my index page follows:

<meta http-equiv="keywords" content="Windows NT, TCP/IP, NetWare, Robert Bruce Thompson, Robert B.

Thompson, Barbara F. Thompson, Barbara Fritchman Thompson, Triad Technology

Group, Windows NT Server 4.0 for NetWare Administrators, Windows NT TCP/IP

Network Administration, Triad Technology Group">

You can repeat words for emphasis. For example, yours might start "pournelle, pournelle, pournelle, byte, byte, byte". You can insert meta-tags in FP Editor by right clicking within the page, choosing Page Properties, and then clicking the custom tab. Choose Add and add a meta tag named "keywords" and give it the value of the words you want search engines to locate your site by.

Then, you need to register with search engines. For example, to add your page to AltaVista, go to:


To add it to Northern Light, go to:


and so forth.

I haven’t done this yet, because my site still isn’t ready for anyone to look at. Check out Peter Kent’s book and web site for more information about registering with search engines. There are software products and services that claim to register your site with x number of search engines, but I think I’ll probably just register manually with a handful of them - Yahoo!, AltaVista, Northern Light, HotBot, Infoseek, Excite, etc.



Robert Bruce Thompson

P.S. On your recommendation, I spoke with Larry Aldridge at PC Power and Cooling yesterday. I was impressed. I’m going to start recommending his foundation platforms to my consulting clients who want to build their own workstations. I’m also going to order my own stuff from them. Thanks.

PC Power and Cooling make good stuff. It costs a little more, but not a lot, and the power supplies don't smoke the chips if something goes haywire.

I have some lengthy comments on my index page. I have now added meta tags. Thanks.



From: Murray Dundas []

Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 1998 1:10 AM


Subject: View Mail: Registering your web site


There are two basic ways to register your web site:

1) Via companies that charge a fee and register your site with dozens or hundreds of web sites at one time. Most offer to register you for free with the major web sites and extra for more specific web sites. Here are two examples.

2) Going to the home page of each of the major search engines and adding your URL via a form.

Search engines use software robots to collect URL’s, but this takes time—lots of time. Most engines are months behind, if not years, despite what they might tell you. That’s why they’ve never heard of the BYTE problem.

Hope this helps.

Murray Dundas



From: Rob Maxwell []

Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 1998 6:43 AM


Subject: View Mail: Getting listed on Search engines


As I’m sure you’ve received this info already, I’ll be brief. Yahoo and other similar search engines have a mechanism for submitting pages/links to be listed. At the bottom of Yahoo’s pages there is a miniscule link called "Suggest a Site."

I thought that engines like Alta Vista (and maybe Webcrawler?) were supposed to scan ad document the web extensively on it’s own, without needing to submit the links. But that was when we all gasped to hear that the whole thing ran on a machine in 4Gb (Gigabytes) of RAM. Also, the web was a smaller, cozier place then. I doubt it’s even possible to cover the whole web now, much less catalog it.

Keep up the good work!

(Envious of your job),

Rob Maxwell

Envious of the job I used to have I suspect; now it's a lot of work for not much result. But books are good money, and while I have to get to work on Mamelukes, I just shipped The Burning City yesterday and I can afford this hobby a bit longer. I don't know how those web spiders work any more. I sure don't have time to spend cruising around telling the world about this. Alas.



From: Broyles, Bryan, MAJ., LITCTR []

Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 1998 7:56 AM

To: 'Jerry Pournelle'

Subject: Chaos Manor and Search Engines


tried to search in Yahoo. No "Byte Fiasco" hits. Jerry Pournelle hits, but not to your page. Chaos manor takes you to which I assume isn’t you. Curious.


No, someone grabbed that page title a long time ago. They will not give it back although they offered to sell it. I do own and I may do something with that. This is certainly a network. Of spider webs if nothing else.


From: John Rice []

Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 1998 10:48 AM


Subject: Search Engines


>Out of curiosity let’s try the Alta Vista engine. Nothing on Jerry Pournelle

>BYTE Fiasco CMP. Old BYTE Articles, the Intellectual Capital biography,


and some

>science fiction author lists. Not a clue that this site exists.

Try Deja-news at This is a usenet newsgroup search (with direct links to the articles found). I got 725 hits on ‘Pournelle’ and 15,000 hits on a ‘power search’ for (BYTE AND magazine). Lots of discussion on the BYTE fiasco. Deja-News searches newsgroups, period. And it includes about every newsgroup there is <grin>.

All that Alta Vista, Excite, and most of the rest of the ‘search engines’ search for are references on WEB Sites, period. If the subject of the search isn’t mentioned on a WEB Site, you won’t get any hits at all. Eventually, almost ALL websites get included in the searches, but yours is new enough that it might not show up yet. There’s somewhat of a science to getting your WEB site included into the search engines ‘early on’ and to get it ‘high’ on the list of hits, but I don’t know much about how it works.

Once you connect to dejanews, if you wish, you can create an ‘account’ (free) which will then let you post to about any newsgroup there is. You can set up your own list of ‘preferred’ groups and look/post in them at your leisure (assuming you have any leisure time <grin>).

>Ok, how do you get the word out that the way to find out what happened


with BYTE and CMP is to

>come here? I bet there are a lot of BYTE readers who would like to know. Only how do you tell them?

Start posting in a few newsgroups <grin>. But I WARN YOU.. posting in a newsgroup almost guarantees a quantity of SPAM e-mail. This is why posting from deja-news is useful. The return address is a deja-news e-mail account, created when you sign up. SPAMMERS ‘harvest’ e-mail addresses from the ‘return addresses’ included in usenet newsgroup postings to build their mailing lists. Never post with a ‘return address’ that you don’t wish to have SPAMMED. Post a message with a reference to the WEB site and assume that anyone interested with come to the site and then if they want to e-mail, they can get the ‘real’ address there. Deja News e-mail does filter out the more obvious SPAM and e-mail from a rather extensive list of known SPAM sources, but some does get through.

For Science Fiction related stuff I’d suggest rec.arts.sf.written.

Then there’s

I just saw a recommendation for STARSWARM in

Then there’s a long thread in comp.os.linux.advocacy entitled something like "Pournelle and his ilk killed BYTE", most of which rebuts that theory emphaticly.

And you seem to get quoted here and there. I saw your comment regarding ‘a good thing the Hopper didn’t go to Washington and bombing microsoft’ pop up, along with others.

Fascinating reading, if you’ve got the time..

I ramble....

John Rice

Once again it looks like a lot of work for little return and a considerable downside potential. I have stayed out of newsgroups largely because I already get more spam than I know what to do with. I guess I'll have to leave word of mouth to others. Thanks.




From: Ron Morse []

Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 1998 10:44 PM


Subject: View Mail

>This looks like silly amateur night here, and it’s probably amusing to real

>professionals, and I ought to stop wasting my time. Thanks


Whether it _looks_ like silly amateur night shouldn’t be the point. I know what a professionally done web site looks like. What I don’t know is what exactly a professional does, and what they have to go through, to make theirs better than mine. Your experiences are my tutorial.

I always felt the Chaos Manor columns in Byte were the ongoing chronicles of someone who uses small computers to do real work. The conclusions were interesting but the telling of how you got to a particular end was always the best part. I was rather hoping this site would be the same.

Watching your day by day experiences has been more instructive and helpful than were the well-edited Byte columns. While it is interesting to know that you might think, for example, Microsoft’s Front Page sucks, having watched this page for the last week or so tells me _exactly_ why, and in what measure. Hardly a waste of _my_ time and I’ve paid for yours (that’s a small joke...but you did set the rate, not me). Is not the process sometimes more important than mere results?


Ron Morse

Captain, U.S. Navy

Thanks. It's also a way to keep a log in case I ever do go back to writing a column...


More on keywords and engines:


From: Myers, Clark E []

Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 1998 11:43 AM

To: ''

Subject: Search engines

You say: In any event none of them seem to have heard of this place, even though one of the early hits on my name was an obscure note about my opinion of the game.


for how to get noticed.

You may want to do a lead-in page with a long title so marked full of keywords to inspire search engines and move up the hit list. Sort of the resume for the scanning age - proverbial never won the Nobel Prize, not a Rocket Scientist, don’t know C++ - to get your resume read.

Ask Darnell about hits to your site by search engines (spiders) and notice that frames are generally *not* indexed. If you move to an advertising model knowing which pages are being hit first and which possibly never get indexed will be commercially significant. Historically AltaVista was the *only* full text search engine that actually went looking for all sites to index. This was intended as a demonstration of Digital’s alpha chip.

I found New Chaos towards the bottom of the top 20 hits of a brief Infoseek search. New Chaos scored about 30% for my search. The space page is linked from the LASF site, and presumably other fannish sites (if not now real soon now)

Unfortunately I suppose, the haystack used to be smaller so older needles are better indexed and this skews results. Notice the similarity to books printed on acidic paper and indexing sites that age out of existence as e.g. don’t get maintained or moved over to new hardware as servers are replaced. The Byte situation almost persuades me to buy the 5 year archive on CD and subscribe to PC Magazines CD edition.

 Clark E. Myers


M/S 19-HJ seat 2-122-2-2E3-B

"Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence," said Napoleon

I long had a wordy comment on my home page. I now have meta tags. And I'll have a look at the place you recommend. Thanks.


From: Alwin Hawkins []

Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 1998 11:15 AM


Subject: View Mail :Search Engines

I typed in "Byte Fiasco" into the Hotbot search engine, nailed your website as the #1 choice. I usually use Hotbot to find new stuff, AltaVista to when I need to filter 50,000 hits on a topic.

Thanks. I found but "BYTE CMP Pournelle" gets mostly old BYTE, and oddly enough, my LINKS page, but not the home page. I doubt too many people think to use 'fiasco' in their search string. I'll to think on what to say. Heck, with all the people here there's enough to get the word out..



From: CyberRanger []

Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 1998 12:26 AM


Subject: View Mail

Howdy Jerry,

I did a couple of searches on "HotBot" ( & here’s what I found.

Doing a Boolean search on:

"Jerry Pournelle" and Byte and CMP

found 165 hits, mostly on the Byte site & some on discussion groups for

robotics, but the #49 hit found

There were some hits on the Byte shutdown on a place called, "" but I was unable to reach it.

Then I did a search on...

Byte Fiasco

& the first 2 hits of 665 were:


dated 1998/06/06 & 1998/06/10. Not too shabby. Since most techno geeks have abandoned Alta Vista & have migrated to HotBot, there’s a good chance they’ll find you site.

Thanks again & again. Take care. Later.



Greg Lead the Way!

Yeah, FIASCO is the right search word but how do we tell people that?


I don't remember if I got this one in here before or not. Anyway:

From: Bruce Denman [bdenman@FTC-I.NET]

Sent: Friday, July 03, 1998 8:13 PM


Subject: Removing AOL's AIM

Kind sir,

I found a link to netscape for this:

The fix is easy but but figured you would like to see the source.

Also; there is a pretty good resource for Win 95 stuff (and now one for Win98)...The Win95L Listserv group. Messages can go up over 200 a day though there is an summary edition too. I mention this as they do have a searchable archive...a resource that has proven helpful in the past. The group(s) share problems/answers and there are a number of extremely helpful and knowledgeable folks on it. FWIW.

Win 95


Win 98

One last point: I will get my 10 bucks in the mail real soon now (chuckle)...definitely want to see you keep Chaos Manor online.


Bruce Denman

Thanks. We forge ahead. With a few lurches once in a while...



From: Steve R. Hastings []

Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 1998 3:57 PM

To: Jerry Pournelle

Subject: Word for long novels

So, you use Word for your long novels.

One question—have you tried using the "Master Documents" feature? Here is how it works:

You put each chapter in a file by itself. Then, you create a "Master Document" and insert each chapter into it. Then, you can do a massive search-and-replace, print the whole thing, or whatever, just as if the whole thing was in one file. But you gain the benefits of having smaller files, too.

If you aren’t using this, you might try it for your next novel.

Best of luck.


Steve R. Hastings "Vita est"

I was never able to see what that would DO for me. One reason we went to Word over Q&A Write was the ability to have a whole novel loaded at once, to do global searches and replaces quickly, to move around in the book, know how many pages it would be. For complicated non-fiction I can see the advantages, but I sure don't see any reason to do this with fiction.


THURSDAY morning, July 9, 1998


From: sschaper []

Sent: Monday, July 06, 1998 11:43 PM

To: Jerry Pournelle

Subject: Your web site, etc.


I read the letter from the Linux fanatic.

{A clear case of misunderstanding, by the way. I read it that way too, and subsequent mail makes it very clear that wasn't the intent, and if I had a dollar for every time I have been misunderstood I could afford this hobby. Jerry}

I, too, am a web professional. IBM pays my employer enough to pay me an adequate salary.

I like your site. I think that it is very informative, including your struggles with FrontPage. I shudder to think of you doing things in a way I regard as kludgy, but lots of others do, and your technique of sharing real-life struggles with this stuff is invaluable to many.

And your site does look nice. The parchment is a good idea. I read, oh, about a year ago, and can’t find, an article on the physiological differences between reading on screen and reading actual paper. They are quite different, and paper is far easier on the eye. The eye apparently needs (assuming I remember correctly) the cues that irregularities in the paper provide, to track properly. Your parchment background helps with this immensely, and (IMHO) looks professional.

Linux _is_ good stuff. It is perhaps the last place where the spirit that was in the early Byte still lives. Where people write code for the love of it, rather than hacking out whatever their bosses tell them. Craftsmanship (and amateurishness also, of course). It is moving towards having a user-friendly environment from installation, through use, to trouble-shooting. But it isn’t quite, yet. I love Mac and the unices for the same reason - elegance of design. The Mac for the user interface, Unix for the deep structure.


Sadly, most people use the abomination called Windows. That is the reality, and that is what works for many people. They may not love working with their machines the same way people love working with Macs and Linux boxes, but they get their work done. And people like you show them how to do so in a very effective way.

I think your site has value, though I do look forward to reading more of your commentary on space and politics in general. And military subjects. And, of course, your novels. (more please? ;-)

I do mean to send the ten bucks (FRN, not the Missouri wine) soon. And I need to start ordering my orders through you.

Good luck, and God bless,

Steve Schaper

For the great Gaels of Ireland

Are the men that God made mad,

For all their wars are merry,

And all their songs are sad.

Thanks. I'm trying...



From: John Alexander []

Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 1998 9:27 AM



Subject: Tables vs. Frames


I just completed a Web site design class here at the university where I serve as a network administrator. We had a lively discussion about frames vs. tables.

While I agree tables may be more compatible with older monitors and browsers, I found that frames work better for the sites I design for the schools I serve. All new browsers support frames, making the compatibility issue a moot one.

I have experienced problems with monitor sizes, though. It seems that a site using frames and designed for 800x600, 15" monitors doesn’t work well on any monitor using 640x480 resolution.

Does anyone have a solution?

BTW, great site. Please stay with content over creativity.

John Alexander

Manager, Area Computing Services

The Capstone College of Nursing

School of Social Work

Excellent question; I am still groping. But Darnell will probably fix it all with the Great Hope, our Data Base driven system which we will have Real Soon Now...



From: Spencer K. Whetstone []

Sent: Thursday, July 09, 1998 6:34 AM


Subject: Priceless line from Douglas Adams

The following quote from Douglas Adams was floating arounf MacWorld.

"Macintosh. We may not have done everything right, but at least we knew the century was going to end."

Thought you might be amused.

Indeed. And thanks



From: Broyles, Bryan, MAJ., LITCTR []

Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 1998 7:11 AM

To: 'Jerry Pournelle'

Subject: Win 98


given my own biases against microsoft, I thought I would ask a more balanced informed user about the latest microsoft heavyhandedness.

"YOU MIGHT WANT to try selecting ‘other Internet provider’ from the list of Internet service providers," one of the messages said in part.

That and similar error messages showed up for some users who tried to publish Web pages they had composed with Microsoft’s Front Page Express, which comes with the Windows 98 operating system software that went on sale late last month.

Microsoft said the confusing error messages were an innocent mistake and would be changed. But in a climate of suspicion about the motives and tactics of the highly successful software maker, some critics were doubtful.

Apparently, several ISPs are upset about this, as they do not intend to support the Front Page software upgrades, and they view this as a recommendation from MS to the user to try a different ISP.

My view is that, intent aside, who would phrase an error message in such a fashion? If it said something to the effect of, "Cannot be executed. Your ISP does not support this software", it would provide the actual info a user might need, but not be so pointed an advertisement for those in the MS camp.

I read this as just the sort of unthinking mistake that is causing MS such a public relations headache. Of course, they could just be evil incarnate.


I am about to do a new essay on Microsoft arrogance and Win 98 over in the Win 98 page section. Stand by. The SCSI people report that Windows 98 doesn't understand SCSI and is causing ENORMOUS problems with fairly simple setups. Some of the biggest names in the SCSI universe have been talking to me off the record and they are not happy. Stay tuned.


A new disaster: I cannot open this file in WORD any longer. What WORD shows is a truncated mess, a lot less than what is in here. I do not know why. See VIEW for more. Now for the mail:


From: Spencer K. Whetstone []

Sent: Thursday, July 09, 1998 6:34 AM


Subject: Priceless line from Douglas Adams


The following quote from Douglas Adams was floating arounf MacWorld.

"Macintosh. We may not have done everything right, but at least we knew the century was going to end."

Thought you might be amused.

Priceless indeed. Thanks.


From: Walter W. Giesbrecht []

Sent: Monday, July 06, 1998 10:56 PM

To: Jerry Pournelle

Subject: Re: HTML



Given the hassles you’ve had with HTML, you might be interested in the "Best Viewed With Any Browser: Campaign for a Non-Browser Specific WWW" page at <>

Walter Giesbrecht


York University Libraries (416) 736-2100 ext. 77551

Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Certainly worth calling attention to. Thanks.


From: Steve R. Hastings []

Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 1998 3:57 PM

To: Jerry Pournelle

Subject: Word for long novels



So, you use Word for your long novels.

One question -- have you tried using the "Master Documents" feature? Here is how it works: You put each chapter in a file by itself. Then, you create a "Master Document" and insert each chapter into it. Then, you can do a massive search-and-replace, print the whole thing, or whatever, just as if the whole thing was in one file. But you gain the benefits of having smaller files, too.

If you aren't using this, you might try it for your next novel.

Best of luck.

Steve R. Hastings "Vita est"


From: Steve R. Hastings []

Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 1998 6:51 PM

To: Jerry Pournelle

Subject: Re: Word for long novels


> MY REPLY WAS: Other than using a new feature what does that DO for me? I don't have any

> problem on the machines I have moving around through the file, and it's

> handy to have everything in one place. I can understand complicated

> structures for non-fiction but for a novel?



I've never written a novel, so perhaps I don't have a good sense for how big one is in a Word .DOC file. If you are finding it convenient to have everything in a single .DOC file, I'm not the guy who's going to tell you to change.

Here are the advantages I see in doing this:

You can trivially print just one chapter. You get an "outline view" ofyour whole novel, with the ability to expand one chapter, and if you are using the Heading styles (which Word 97 will attempt to automatically do for you) then you get an outline view of sections within chapters. You and Mr. Niven can each revise separate chapter .DOC files, and you don't have to merge the changes unless you both worked on the same chapter file. It ought to be a little easier to scroll around inside a single chapter file, simply because there would be less of it to scroll around in. And Word ought to be a bit faster when editing smaller files than editing a huge file, and it ought to save faster, and if some horrible disaster strikes during a save you have less data blown away. If you need to email a changed chapter to someone, you can do it easily without emailing the whole novel.

In short, you get the advantages of having each chapter in a separate file, while at the same time you get the advantages of having everything in one big file. You just open chapter files one at a time to work on them individually, or open the Master Doc to work on them as if they were together in one huge file.

You shouldn't have to manage or administer anything, after you created the Master Doc; it should just work. If it doesn't work as well as advertised, just paste all the chapter files together to get your one big file, and you are no worse off.

If none of this sounds interesting, just skip it. I just thought it might be useful to you.

Steve R. Hastings "Vita est"

ACTUALLY it might be an interesting way to do things, and I do thank you for the suggestion. I think it would be more trouble than it was worth: it would mean transferring a lot of files back and forth when Niven and I swap, and since neither of us keeps track of who did what when, we always do a big file merge when we get together: one thing about a merge is if I see he has changed something I did, I can decide whether his is the right improvement or the whole paragraph needs work: he may not have got it right either, but if Larry changes something it probably wasn't right. Or if it were, then some earlier explanation may be needed. Or-- well you get the idea.

The outline business sounds mildly interesting, but again, the goal in fiction is to have as little between author and text as possible. And with our fast machines, scrolling takes little time, and saving, even though we always set to make a full backup and NEVER NEVER allow fast saves, saving never takes more than a second or two. I save early and often, a habit from CP/M days, and for one used to having to save to 8" floppies I can tell you that modern machines save nearly instantly.


When someone makes a suggestion, I may sound argumentative, but mostly that means I just hadn't time to be more polite. I do appreciate suggestions. I also take very few on how to write books: one gets set in one's ways, and a bit superstitious about them, after enough years. Thanks and stay well,




From: Peter L. Briggs, Senior Partner, HDI []

Sent: Thursday, July 09, 1998 2:12 PM


Subject: Various Topics: History, The Web & HTML, Web Sites, Web Searching, Finding Your Site, Your Books, Many Thanks!


Dr. Pournelle:

1) Your column has been a delight for many years, and I hope that you find your market in order to continue your current "musings".

2) Indeed, Byte Magazine was one of the few that actually discussed technology, rather than limiting itself to gadgets. I will miss it, too!

In fact, the Internet has not been a particularly satisfactory ground for the discussion of, as opposed to the exposition of, technology. The nature of discussion groups and other threaded [interactive] conversations seem to lend themselves more to shorter-term (and just plain shorter) discussion blocks around narrow sub-components. Technology discussions frequently seem to decay into ‘bursty’ blocks of short observations. The Web certainly seems the ideal ground for the exposition of technology, in that any mix of text, graphics, references, sources, footnotes, and whatever can be easily woven together in a continuously evolving document embodied in a Web page. Work Groups aside, the editorial efforts required to keep any non-trivial exposition of technology (or anything else, for that matter) concise, clear, and well-structured seem to require the vision of a single editor and quickly decay into disarray when steered ‘by committee’.

3) re: Web Design & HTML

I have enormous empathy for your current learning experience - my own have had much in common, though starting about four years ago.

Indeed, HTML is awkward, as are all markup languages (runoff, SGML, et alia.) I imagine that that’s why I write with Word, by preference and wherever feasible—all the markup is hidden! (But there sure is a lot of it, as anyone knows who has examined a .DOC file in a good text editor.)

The HTML and Web-building tools are even more primitive than the HTML language, for the best of reasons—the language is evolving faster than any previous computer-related language (and that evolution appears to be pretty much directly pulled by the market.) Since software engineering is at least one order of magnitude more complex than the development of requirements (even well though-out requirements), I guess we just have to either ride with it or await smoother waters and leave the field to those who are interested enough in the ride to put up with the annoyances. I suspect that, income aside, your inclinations might parallel mine, and that you’ll continue to ‘try the ride’ regardless of the annoyances. My personal expectation is that MS Office will be forcibly evolved into a civilized Web-content publishing tool at what amounts to ‘light speed’ in software engineering. I also suspect that no one has yet stumbled on a compelling paradigm for Web-site design, a much more abstract problem than content development. I’ve used most of the available tools. Each offers some pieces of attractive functionality for content display, site mapping, or site design, but none have captured my sense of vision or my passion around the larger process. I end up building the pieces with various tools and then integrating everything together by hand. I do build each type of piece with the most automated method I can beg, borrow, or steal, with a assumption that content maintenance needs to be as automatic and low-effort for content producers as is feasible. By now you realize, I’m sure, that there are no ways to properly allow for the effects of the ‘aha!’ in site design.

We just have to re-structure all the content the hard way. I’ve tried very

fancy tools that promise great ease in this area, but they’re really just

tools for manipulating hierarchical libraries of content. Most


re-structuring, as Jon Udell pointed out many times, involves taking apart

structures in more than a single dimension. No extant tools seem to be very helpful, there.

A general note: somehow, Web pages lend themselves to be viewed ‘upside down’ from the way we are inclined to build lists, e.g. top-down. In other words, it’s somehow easier to read an ongoing Web journal where the new material appears at the top of the page, rather than at the bottom. Try it you’ll probably like it. Others may, too.

4) re: Web Searching

There can be no perfect Web Search Engine because the needs are too diverse. The hokiest, and most effective, approach by far is what I think of as search-engine aggregators. Tools like MataHari and Hurricane (both free and quite usable—see the appropriate section of or equivalent download site), apply a set of search criteria to many ‘engines’ in parallel and then consolidate and organize the results into a local HTML document.

Alta Vista was certainly the first great single search engine. Today, I suspect that I agree with another correspondent that HotBot is probably the most useful site with the greatest coverage. The search-aggregation tools all deal with dozens of engines, so they eliminate the need to keep current about the underlying data. My test of Hurricane, uslng the search keys:

+"byte magazine" AND +fisaco AND +"chaos manor" AND +pournelle AND NOT got me lots of references, many of which were even relevant. The HotBot results were by far the most apropos, and all led precisely to the right places:



Web Results 5 matches. Breakdown: 6048, fiasco 25650,

pournelle 3181, manor 92403, chaos 287101, magazine 1795234, byte 446645

Includes: "byte magazine", "chaos manor", pournelle, fiasco


After: May 1, 1998

1 - 5



1. UPDATE: New Online (article)

Windows NT news for the week of June 9, 1998.

62% 11943 bytes, 1998/06/11


2. Mirror:


3. Slashdot:BYTE Falldown FAQ

faq code awards slashNET older stuff rob’s page submit

story book reviews advertising

supporters past polls about BSI BYTE Falldown FAQ Contributed by CmdrTaco


Monday June 08, @07:32AM from the industry-watches dept. Torbjörn Mattsson writes ...

61% 28850 bytes, 1998/06/22



THE BYTE FIASCO June 5, 1998 I am sure you have heard

that BYTE is folded. For

those who tuned in late, it might be well to start where I did. For the

story in

chronological order, plus a discussion of the options I am considering, click here. I am.

61% 27383 bytes, 1998/06/06



THE BYTE FIASCO June 5, 1998 I am sure you have heard

that BYTE is folded. For

those who tuned in late, it might be well to start where I did. For the

story in

chronological order, plus a discussion of the options I am considering, click here. I am.

61% 27382 bytes, 1998/06/05

Web Results 5 matches. Breakdown: 6048, fiasco 25650,

pournelle 3181, manor 92403, chaos 287101, magazine 1795234, byte 446645

Includes: "byte magazine", "chaos manor", pournelle, fiasco


After: May 1, 1998

1 - 5



Copyright 1994-98 Wired Digital Inc. All rights reserved.

About Wired Ventures | Our privacy policy | Add URL

5) re: Your books

My wife and I have enjoyed your books for decades, now. We look forward to their, and your, joyful continuance. Our SF/Fantasy collection is well over 15,000 volumes, these days. I’ll make certain to visit via your site each time I go there.


THANKS for the kind words and all the research. And now I really have to get to bed.

FRIDAY July 10, 1998

Every now and then one gets a humbling experience.


From: Matìj Cepl []

Sent: Friday, July 10, 1998 3:27 AM

To: ''

Subject: View organization


After all your complaints with tables in FrontPage, I came to conclusion, that you have no idea, what’s HTML about. The best offer, which I can give is to read something about HTML (sorry, for my terrible English, it isn’t my first language - I am Czech - and I have not waken up yet).

I really am not talking about more pictures and whistles on pages, just contrary, I understand, that words are more powerful than images (being a lawyer, it’s easy to think so) and I prefer them a lot. I am in the same position as you (learning to make web pages) and I have found some very helpful pages. Books are too much expensive for me, but it may be good idea as well.

The best source, what I find, is on, which is page of non-profit Web Design Group helping people to make better pages. Especially, be sure to read answer on and articles on and

Thank you for keeping up Chaos Manor.

Matthew Cepl

Would one gift the Giftie gie us, to see oursel's as other see us.

Of course I have no idea what HTML's about, and all I can do is complain; but I confess I hadn't thought to come across that way. In my old BYTE columns I didn't write a story until it had a happy ending, and I edited the telling to cut out the crabby bitching, cursing, swearing, and 'why me, Lord?' that became an inevitable part of trying to make something happen with these machines. At that it was different from most of what I read, where the writer was an expert and all either went well or if it did not it was never the fault of the writer for misunderstanding. I thought to be a little more realistic than that.

Apparently this journal protrays me, probably rather correctly, is impatient and rather dense, quarrelsome, and with only the virtue of being stubborn; and I want to reflect on that. Thank you.

I have no shortage of books on HTML and for that matter no shortage of advice; Talin, whom you have seen in these pages before, taught himself HTML by simply downloading the standard and reading it. While I'm a bit older than him, I could manage that too. It's not all that hard, and while it may appear that I have no idea of what HTML is all about, I do in fact understand that it's a formatting language which runs on the reader's computer and talks to his hardware, not my own. I also know that if I were to do all this in Notepad using raw HTML there would be two results: I'd get precisely what I wanted, and there would be damned little of it, since I'd be spending most of my time getting it put up in the first place. Rather like books: if I typeset my own I would I am sure get a result closer to what I wanted. I also would not write many of them. Have you seen that mechanisms are needed to get some of html's "reserved" characters into text? Such as those quote marks?

Thank you for pointing out what ought to have been obvious in the first place, but was not, and giving me cause to think on the best way to go about this without appearing to be a crabby fool. Best regards,



Two important messages about Microsoft:


From: Dave Dawes []

Sent: Thursday, July 09, 1998 7:43 PM

To: ''

Subject: Why Microsoft products aren't elegant

I figure Microsoft’s software isn’t elegant because it doesn’t have to be. Elegance takes time and effort, which translates into money spent paying employees while the product doesn’t ship, and money lost not selling the product while you improve it.

Microsoft isn’t playing on a level playing field: their monopoly of the OS and standard Office productivity products makes their other software efforts automatically well known, well supported, widely reviewed, stocked by everyone, and so on. Microsoft’s deep pockets allow them to stay in a market with inferior products while they try to close the gap and eventually get ahead of their competitors.

If they can sell a lot of copies of a mildly lousy app and make good profits that’s what they do. If Microsoft already owns 80% or more of a given market, they have little incentive to delay it and get all of the fine details right.

Microsoft has always had an incremental approach: ship early versions, even if they are crummy. If they haven’t taken over the market, then refine it and add features for the next version. Repeat until they own that product’s market. Once the competition drops out, the incentive to improve the product drops off. As an example, when I upgraded from Word 95 to Word 97, the size of a simple two page document went from 12K to 111K, the load time (both of Word and of a given document) dropped by a factor of two, and the keyboard shortcuts were changed for no apparent reason (a personal pet peeve of mine). When WordPerfect was kicking Word around in the marketplace, each version of Word seemed to improve substantially.

I couldn't agree more: the best thing that could happen to WORD would be a serious challenge from an editor that could read WORD format, write WORD format, and inside do the essential things WORD does without bogging down. I suspect one could be written in Visual Basic, compiled, then hand optimized using some of the VB interface but cleaning up a good bit of the mess inserted by VB. That way the writers wouldn't have to reinvent most of the display mechanisms. The problem is that the level of effort is very great. Turbo Pascal was done by one Danish programmer (and marketed by a French entrepreneur and pitch man) and Turbo BASIC could be done with the resources available from the proceeds of Turbo Pascal. Now I suspect it takes a great deal more resources to get into the game.

Incidentally, I think there is a middle ground between "not elegant" and "mildly lousy". There are some very good points about WORD, else I would not continue to use it.

And now this:


From: Steve R. Hastings []

Sent: Friday, July 10, 1998 1:41 AM

To: Jerry Pournelle

Subject: Microsoft and code cleanup

You said:

> ...I sure wish Gates would find a good cleanup crew. Pay them whatever it

> takes. The cost would be small compared to the frustration level of the

> customers.

Microsoft doesn’t need to find a cleanup crew; they have good people working there already. They just need to decide that cleanup is important, and schedule it for development. But they won’t.

I used to work at Microsoft, as part of the Word team. Code cleanup was *never* a scheduled item at any time I can remember. I saw a lot of horrendous code, and the team was putting new layers on top, rather than re-writing it. There was a list of new features, and a schedule, and anyone who spent a lot of time on cleanup would find it hard to stay on schedule. I think it is fair to say that the attitude is that code cleanup would be nice, but won’t produce revenue, and might cause bugs.

I’m pretty sure there were a few developers who were given some schedule time for re-writing a few things to clean them up a bit. Nothing like the wholesale cleanup you suggested.

There was a project a few years back to throw away the code base for Word for Windows, and replace it with a new, written-from-scratch, clean and tidy code base. The project was declared a failure and canceled. I was not on the team of that project so I don’t know the details, but I heard that one of the reasons was that there are many poorly-documented hacks in Word that handle obscure error conditions (e.g. code to work around quirks in assorted printers); and no one wanted to risk having to re-discover the bugs and the fixes. No doubt there were other reasons as well, but I think the bottom line was that (to quote Pournelle) better is the enemy of Good Enough. They decided Word was Good Enough.

And they weren’t wrong, really; Word *is* Good Enough. Check the sales statistics! But I agree with you that the gains of a massive cleanup would be worth it. I truly believe that Word could be ten times faster if it had some good streamlining done in the internal architecture, and it would probably take up half as much space on a hard disk afterwards.

Alas, it won’t happen.


Steve R. Hastings "Vita est"

I have to agree with most of that. Given the choice between buggy clunky bloatware WORD and no WORD, I'll take what exists: clearly, since I use it. On the other hand, I got into this business in 1977 with the notion of trying to lead or drive -- depending on the way you look at it -- the computer revolution to places I want it to be. One thing I very much want is a cleaner and neater WORD, or something that works much as WORD does but does it a bit better. Maybe I can shame someone. After all, while there is much to be proud of in WORD, there's somewhat to be ashamed of too. And OUTLOOK is more of same in spades with big casino.

Thanks for the inside story. Stay well,




From: Murray Dundas []

Sent: Friday, July 10, 1998 5:10 PM

To: Jerry Pournelle

Subject: Microsoft and code cleanup



I think we are all so used to incompetence and shoddy software in this industry that we allow software companies—especially Microsoft—to get away with murder. Your comment "I have to agree with most of that. Given the choice between buggy clunky bloat ware WORD and no WORD, I’ll take what exists: clearly, since I use it" speaks volumes about what is wrong with the PC software industry. We have been marketed into believing that we should pay hundreds of dollars for shoddy software, then put in countless hours trying to get it to work, and feel good about it, as is spelled out in Mr. Hasting's e-mail to you.

Microsoft Word is used by the majority of people on this earth for their crucial word processing needs. Word processing is most of what people use their computers for. Microsoft is a multi-billion dollar company built on money from the pockets of its customers. Period. And to in any way make it appear that it’s ok for them to ship shoddy, bloated software is an affront to all those who have paid good money for it and rely on the product for their jobs. Microsoft’s alleged excuses for Word are just bull---. Nothing more.

I provide PC Consulting services to my clients and never give them "good enough." That’s rubbish. I always have an answer and give them the best that I can do and I expect no less from a rich software company like Microsoft. I always fear making changes on my client’s systems will cause problems, but I do it anyway and work through it until I make it right. And I always do. And so should Microsoft. There should be no such thing as "good enough." Software publishers should strive to make the product the best it can possibly be. The leanest and meanest. They should fix bugs for free and make them known. If they can’t do that, they’re not doing their jobs and don’t deserve our money. Corel WordPerfect has mine as a result.

We should stop coddling billionaire’s and start insisting they do their jobs. Because their jobs affect our jobs.


Murray Dundas


PC Consulting

Business Communication

Business Writing | Editing | Research

Internet Web Site Writing (Content)

Internet Web Site Organization



Voice: 403-285-4953

So. Now that you have concluded it is all my fault, what am I to do next? Refuse to use the best tool I have found because you don't like Microsoft? You certainly make that clear enough. I have edited your scatological phrase, but I think everyone knows what you said; so what I write is bull--- and nothing more, because I --what?

I should, perhaps, use a ball point pen and lined paper until Microsoft does it right? Or perhaps I can write my novels with vi on a UNIX Box? What are these marvels you give your clients which are so perfect? You are very long on invective, but you are quite short on advice. What would you have me do? I thought I was doing enough, but clearly not.


Sent: Friday, July 10, 1998 3:54 AM


Subject: stupid word trick

From: Ed DeJesus <>

Date: Fri, 12 Jun 1998 17:39:49 -0400

Subj: Synonyms


---------- Forwarded Message ----------

> 1. Open a new document in Microsoft Word (I used Word 6)

> 2. Type "Unable to follow directions" (without the quotes)

> 3. Highlight the entire sentence you just typed

> 4. Click Tools; select Language, then Thesaurus (In Word 6, the Thesaurus


option is directly under the Tools menu)

Yes, thanks, I have seen that. Interesting result.


Sent: Friday, July 10, 1998 2:32 PM

To: Jerry Pournelle


Subject: RE: Parchment?


I’d still like to find out about "Vootie!".

Trip to Seattle coming up, I’ll probably get "Starswarm" for the plane. I liked the chapters you had online.

Thanks again for your research and writing. The things you do never sound trivial and always sound interesting!

Take care, Jim Savory

"Vootie" is unlikely to have meaning to anyone not my age or a Mad Magazine fanatic. Long years ago, Mad did a satire on "The Dave Garroway Show." Few have heard of Dave Garroway now, but he was once as well known as Dan Rather. As I understand it, his downfall came with the Jonas Salk announcement of a polio vaccine: preliminary copy of the announcement was sent under embargo to a number of well known journalists, with strict instructions that they were not to break the story until Salk himself had his press conference the next morning. Garroway said "This is too hot to sit on!" and broke the story hours before the press conference. Apparently in those days, unlike now, journalists who broke the rules were snubbed by all the others; in any event Garroway disappeared from view, and I have no idea where he is now.

When he had his TV show, there was a segment with an ape, whose name was, I think, J Fred Muggs. Garroway used to end his show by holding up his hand, palm forward, in the American Indian "How" gesture, and saying "Peace." Mad Magazine's parody of the Dave Garrowoneway Show ended with the chimp holding up his hand and saying "Vootie," and at one time it was pretty standard for Mad readers to do the appropriate gesture and one say "Peace" and the other reply "Vootie." Now aren't you glad you know all that?

From: David A. Adair []

Sent: Thursday, July 09, 1998 10:53 AM

To: Jerry Pournelle

Subject: FrontPage and other stuff



FrontPage98(FP) can be a pig at times. That said, it is still miles better than what the competition has. I have run across many of the same problems that have plagued you, and in most cases found work-arounds.

On the problem with editing large documents, I am of two minds. First and foremost it is a pain! [You can say that again! JEP] However when ever I notice that FP is starting to slow down noticeably, I start to think about breaking the page into two or more parts. This brings a couple of benefits:

1. Editing is quicker

2. Smaller pages download much more quickly for the reader.


Moving on to templates. I have found that the simplest way to set up a page that has the same links on it is to create a page with all the formatting that you want (tables, graphics, etc.) and save it as an HTML document. Then open the saved doc, and select the Save As from the file menu, pick your new name and sub-directory, fill in the FP info (optional) and go crazy. It seems to works every time.

David A. Adair

Yes, that's the procedure I have evolved. Thanks.





From: Harlequin Shadowland <>

Date: Fri, 05 Jun 1998 07:07:51 -0700 (PDT)

Subj: OSR2

Mr. Pournelle

i read your article in byte and agree much with you on many points tho i must admit your comment about it ‘dangerous’ or ‘difficult’ to seperate IE from OSR2 is not correct. Here are the following steps to do just that:

a. from a FRESH osr2 install (yes, the following doesn't work if you used IE at all. It will cause system unrealibility) drop down to the DOS prompt

b. CD to the subdir PROGRA~1 from the root dir

c. type the following:

deltree inter*.*

deltree icw*.*

deltree plus*.*

deltree online*.*


press "Y" to confirm all commands when prompted.

this will delete IE, the trial online services (AOL and such), internet connection wizard (which is geared to IE only) and basically other dead weight.

d. then IMMEDATLY return to windows and cold boot the system. (if you dont do this win95 gets upset and will crash sooner or later. By rebooting i beleive win95 logs or/and reconfigs itself for the changes and is then happy and accepts it. Im not a win95 programmer this is just speculation on my part but i DO KNOW if you don't reboot after you delete those dir’s win95 becomes quite unstable)

e. delete the IE, ICW and online service folders/icons and thats it.

IE and its related/unneeded componets are removed from your system.

Thru trial and error I have fine tuned this procedure. I have done it on my system and others with no ill effects either short or long term.

Hope this helps you or/and others who prefer Communicator like I do and dont want IE wasting space on their HD.


p.s.: yes I'm a PC tech :)

‘I don't see any need for computers to have more then 640K of RAM’ -

Bill Gates 1981


Thanks. I doubt if I'll try that, and anyone who does try it does so at his own risk...

And enough for the day.

The decorative separators have to go. I'll try to figure something else.


From: John Rice []

Sent: Friday, July 10, 1998 11:55 PM


Subject: Webpage Observations


Looking at your current mail page and I’d like to make a couple of observations.

Table width - The table no longer ‘scales’ when I change window size.

This is caused by the use of graphics (gifs) within the table. Gifs will cause the width properties of the table to be overriden, in that the table cell can not ever be smaller than the width of the gif.

As an explanation. Screen resolution is expressed in pixels wide and high, ie: 640 x 480 says that the screen is 640 pixels wide. If you design your web page to always fit within 640 pixels, you’ll look good on all browsers.

This becomes important when it comes to tables, a good design rule is to set the ‘table width’ to 600 ‘pixels’ and then set the cell widths proportional (in %).

In the case of the mail page, the first cause is the ‘balls’ gif at the bottom of the table (line6.gif). It’s too wide for the cell. The second cause is that there needs to be a separation between the separator line gif (line7.gif) that immediately preceeds the last mail message (from Harlequin Shadowland ) and the message header. Now, the ‘from’ line in the header is on the same line as the gif and because it’s a block quote, it also can override the cell width and this added to the gif width is forcing the table to be wider than you want.

Just put in a c/r after the gif.

Another ‘observation’. If you want to remove those ‘ugly’ (my opinion) grid lines that surround the table, you can do it easily. ‘Right click’ anywhere within the table. You should get a popup menu. Select ‘table properties’. On this config screen, set ‘border width’ to 0 and the lines go away. (Note: right clicking on the page gets you quickly to all kinds of things). And lastly, it’s becoming more obvious based on your comments, that there is something ‘wrong’ with Princess. Just because it has two pentium processors, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily running right. Simply the fact that you are getting radicly different (better) results from word on the same file on another machine should make this (painfully) obvious. I know that ‘rebuilding’ Princess isn’t a pretty thought, but it might be coming to that point. I continue to be able to load your pages into Frontpage (97) and edit/manipulate them with no apparent problems (slowness,corruption) convinces me even more.

As usual I ‘ramble’, but hopefully my observations are helpful.


John Rice

Right on all counts. OK, the line separators have to go. I'll have to come up with something better. Not sure what. And I suppose I do have to bite the bullet and scrub down Princess. Not something I look forward to. Oh well. If I could get the big new server in operation it would make it easier.

Current Entry

Saturday, July 11, 1998

Begin with this:

From: Stephan Somogyi <>

Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998 13:32:01 -0700

Subj: [HUMOR] Thought du jour


_It pleases me to learn that Abdul Kassem Ismael, grand vizier of Persia in the tenth century A.D., never traveled without his library of 117,000 volumes, carried by a caravan of 400 camels trained to walk in alphabetical order.

-- Lewis Lapham, Harper’s, Jan. 1998

I think I noticed that in Harper's when it came out, then forgot it. I shouldn't have. It's delightful. And for another unrelated item,

From: Matt Weddle <>

Date: Wed, 06 May 1998 12:48:31 -0500

Subj: Excel 97 Flight Simulator


Thought you might like to know one reason why Office 97 is so big. Nice landsape, with a virtual lake (with waves), and a mountain you can park in front of to get developers’ credits with a bit of humor. "... And lo it was good."


Believe it or not - A Flight simulator from MS Excel 97 (courtesy :

Integra Microsystems, Bangalore, India)

Ever wondered why Microsoft applications seem to become slower and fatter with each new release?

Apparently the constant rain in Redmond has driven Bill’s engineers to obsessive flights of fancy. Below you’ll find instructions on how to access a little flight simulator that was inexplicably hidden by precipitation-maddened programmers deep inside Excel 97.

(1) In Excel 97, open a new blank work sheet.

(2) Press F5 and type X97:L97 in the "Reference" box, then click OK.

(3) Now hit your tab key once (you should end up in cell M97).

(4) press "Ctrl" and "Shift" while clicking once on the "chart wizard" icon (the one at the top with the blue-yellow-red bar chart).


Welcome aboard ! After a few moments you should be flying. Steer with the mouse, accel and decel with the left and right mouse buttons respectively, and look for the monoliths with the programmer credits. You can exit the screen by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc.

Enjoy the flight..............

I have seen this before, but I had forgotten it. You have a point. Easter Eggs are fun, but they do add to the bloat.

Which leads us to:

From: John Dougan []

Sent: Thursday, July 09, 1998 8:55 PM


Subject: View Mail


After reading this I have to differ.

> It does the job. Sort of. The way a lot of Microsoft  stuff does lately. I do not think I have heard  ‘elegant’ applied to much of their software since  Excel first came out. Why is this? I think probably  it’s hard to get good programmers to work on cleaning  thing up, making them work better, making  existing products more elegant. People do pretty   well what they want to do, and programmers  more than most. But I sure wish Gates would find  a good cleanup crew. Pay them whatever it takes.

> The cost would be small compared to the  frustration level of the customers.

Based on the programmers and MS employees I’ve known, I don’t think this is quite right. I know of plenty of good (and bad) programmers who are willing, nay, eager to make their products more elegant/cleaner/better. Heck, most of the time managers have to hold them back to keep them on the project plan. I’m just not sure many are hired to work at MS, or that they are allowed to do what otherwise comes naturally.

Part of the problem is in that in order to make the product better you have to sometimes rip its guts out and rearchitect/rebuild. This is usually because the product has drifted far enough from it’s initial requirements that its original architecture is holding development back. The MS programmers I have known seem highly reluctant to do this. Their general policy seems to be that it is always better to patch and reuse than rebuild and redesign. I was also told that due to this there are significant amounts of code in Word that go back to Word 1.0 and that it is this code that makes it hard for Word to be ported to NT Alpha or PPC. (In case you were wondering why all the allegedly portable Win32 API application software doesn’t run on other Win32 platforms than Intel)

As a interesting example, the Internet Explorer for Macintosh and the latest version of Office for Mac were written by Mac applications people who were not beholden to the old code (or so I was told). The result...some of the nicest stablest software to come out of MS in a long time.

A somewhat better description than I can give of the kinds of problems that plague projects is at:


It’s an old (1993) internal SGI memo about problems with the 5.1 release of their OS. Watching NT turn from a fresh start at an OS into shipped way late bloatware leads me to believe MS is heading down a similar path.


I don't have to comment on this, and I won't; it's worth thinking about.

And now for a bit of, well, I enjoy this as much as the next man...

From: Ian Clark []

Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 1998 4:05 AM

To: Jerry Pournelle

Subject: Mrs Heinlein!



Hi Jerry

This is important. Where else than JP could we learn that the "Ginny" of many years fame as a supportive, bright and important person in our SF lives, is OK. Last we read was in Locus some years ago that Mrs Heinlein had moved to Florida.

You "must" not take away this unique interface to important issues otherwise not available to we foreigners.

Please pass to Mrs Heinlein my well wishes for her health and happiness. Mr Heinlein’s anecdotal information made it very clear Mrs Heinlein was a very significant part of the partnership, though her name may have been omitted from the cover page.

Regards also to Mrs Pournelle. I think you have been remiss untill this forum and this week’s posts in acknowledging your Roberta’s importance in the issue of Pournelle, and Niven & Pournelle books.

You could not imagine how much I wish I could be a party in the bushwalk of N&P when discussing a book. Visions in a mind’s eye. Of course, as you must know by now, I talk too much so would probably be sent back. but still...

Sincerest regards to Mrs Heinlein, Mrs Pournelle and the never read of Mrs Niven. (I admit the last is an assumption and apologise in advance if it generates some form of offence).

Ian Clark

Gladstone QLD Australia



From: Ward Gerlach []
Sent: Friday, July 10, 1998 8:33 PM
To: Jerry Pournelle

Mr. Dundas forgets,  YOU are not a "consultant", you are a writer.  You are obliged to use those tools that best suit your occupation,  and you are certinly entitled to hammer the provider of those tools until they get the blasted things right!

So keep it up, and let 'em have it right between the eyeballs until they DO have it right!

Regards....Ward Gerlach



I do try to drive things the way I want them to go. Sometimes I have success. Sometimes not, but it's fun to try. And now

From: on behalf of Mike Van Pelt []

Sent: Friday, July 10, 1998 12:48 PM


Subject: Chaos Manor musings


I enjoy the web site a lot. Thanks for diverting the effort to it.

I just tried an experiment in payment methods - Using Wells Fargo’s "Online Bill Pay" service, I sent you $11, for the contribution towards the web page, and for "Strategy of Technology". So you should get a check mailed directly from Wells Fargo sometime next week.

- Mike Van Pelt

I will of course be looking forward to the results of the experiment. And thanks.

And of course one likes to hear:

From: Claud Addicott []

Sent: Saturday, July 11, 1998 8:19 AM


Subject: View Mail


Dear Dr. Pournelle,

For what it’s worth I like the current format of THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR, warts and all. I can read the works of "Experts" doing flawless installs and upgrades in any of the print or online magazines. Your adventures with software and hardware are much more valuable (if for no other reason that to reassure those of us who experience similar problems that we are not total idiots). ;-)

I have experimented with every HTML editor I can get and they all seem to have one thing in common. They all seem to be designed for pages with lots of graphics and little text. You seem to have found the only acceptable system (write in Word, copy and paste) at least until someone designs an editor that doesn’t redraw the entire page every time you type a character.

Claud Addicott


And of course I am always told I should:

From: Riley Werts []

Sent: Friday, July 10, 1998 11:40 AM


Subject: View Mail



I’ve been reading your columns for about 15 years. It seems you have been futzing with Micro$oft/Intel systems all this time and have never been able to get things to work the way you want; continually lamenting the sad state of the Wintel platform, wondering why they can’t get it right.

They can’t get it right because their focus is wrong and they are continually in a copycat mode. Bill Gate’s personal fortune is rising faster than their R&D budget: that’s their focus... They have always tried to make their product as good as what they are copying: instead of innovating, getting some good creative people in, and doing something new, they are trying to make their stuff emulate the best of the breed. The Macintosh. (Gates himself has admitted that the Mac interface is the best out there.) They are trying to hack QDOS (Quick & Dirty Operating System: Window’s roots) into something it can never be.

You have said that there are Macs in your office. And you are now free of the necessity to cater to the Wintel crowd. Admittedly, making a major shift in your office platform to Mac would mean that you would have much less to write about: Macs are not perfect, I’m not naiive enough to believe that, but they are more likely to do what you tell them to do, in the way that you want to do it, and continue to do it without crashing, than a Wintel machine. Few informed people would dispute that. If you spent just half the time messing with the Mac hardware, you would have hardly any troubles at all to write about. I know: I’m the System Manager for 26 Macs in a high-end pre-press color trade shop. In addition to taking care of all the Mac hardware and software, I take care of all the imaging equipment, deal with customer & sales problems, research new HW & SW, train all operators on new software, maintain the FDDI/100/10 network, the Unix file/print server, and on and on. All by myself. For sure, boredom is not on my list of problems, but keeping all the Macs running takes less of my time than does the one NT4 server that came as a RIP on one of our imagesetters (and the time I spend is in addition to the fact that we have a service contract with the vendor to keep that one going!). From what I can gather, the only people that really have good reason to push the move to Wintel are IS/tech support people that would see their jobs go away if Macs were put in.

And applications? Just about anything you need is available for the Mac. Whatever isn’t, can easily be run in rock-solid Windows emulation. That Macs can’t run in harmony with Wintel networks is more horsesh*t from the IS crew.

So: get a Mac, and concentrate on getting some work done. They just work. No, I’m not getting paid by Apple to write this: I’m just a professional out here in the real world that’s getting paid by my employer to get the most work done in the least amount of time for the lowest cost.

Warmest Regards,

Riley Werts

Systems Manager, Graphics Four Inc., Lenexa KS


Which may be good advice even. But the problem NOW is that I pretty well have to make do with what I have, and what I have is high end Windows/NT (although not necessarily Intel) systems, and much older Macs. With Office 98 for the Mac I could certainly get my work done, and Darnell swears that Net Objects Fusion for the Mac will make this stuff easy. On the other hand, now that I have hit on the use a blank Word page for this operation and paste it into Front Page when it's right, I don't have the problems I used to have.

And the gods of the copybook headings, said "Stick to the devil you know." The foundation of all conservative thought, I think. I'm adventurous when laziness drives me to it...

But I do thank everyone for the advice, and I don't mean that in any nasty way.

And one last neat mail:

From: john biel []
Sent: Saturday, July 11, 1998 12:17 PM
Subject: Fascinating Science Link



I ran across this by another one of my favorite authors James P. Hogan. Having seen that he has had some communication with you in the past, I thought you might be interested in adding a link to it.


Basically it's a set of short essays by James Hogan on modern scientific heresies.

His own page is


I have violated a basic rule including this: I have incorporated an html file, with div tags in it. I HATE THOSE. This will be the second time I have done it with this message: trying to remove the /div managed to crash Front Page. Please do not DO this in future. And now that I have had my say,

I'm very happy to recommend this. I met Jimmy Hogan a very long time ago, at, I believe, an Octocon where he was Guest of Honor and I was a "Distinguished Guest" or some such. We ended up sitting in his suite until well after dawn, and it was one of those evenings in which instant friendships develop. The same happened with me with Poul Anderson and Robert Heinlein in the early 60's, and in South Africa at the Birkenhead Inn with Stuart Cloete, South Africa's best writer; we just instantly hit it off. It happens sometimes.

In any event, reading Hogan is always a delight: he's insightful, and clear, and you may not agree with him on everything but he's looked at the issues before he started talking. That's all you can ask of an intelligent man.



From: sschaper []

Sent: Sunday, July 12, 1998 12:26 AM

To: Jerry Pournelle

Subject: C. S. Lewis


I was delighted to read your piece on C. S. Lewis. {in BOOKS]

I must say I haven’t read the medieval apologists, and there is something wrong with that considering I have a Masters of Divinity from a fairly rigorous seminary, and have a fascination with medieval history. Of course, Covenant Theological Seminary is conservative Presbyterian, and that may have something to do with that, but yet we read (Pope) Gregory the Great for Pastoral Theology, and I’ve heard sub rosa comments from professors that the recent _Evangelicals and Catholics Together_ and _The Gift of Salvation_  (see are documents that they could sign, if it weren’t for politics.

There are two moderns that might interest you, one a protestant, one a Catholic.

Francis Schaffer, who founded (as it were) L’Abri first in Switzerland with branches elsewhere, and wrote a number of books dealing with an approach to talking to people on the level of their philosophical presuppositions, as in his experience, the existentialists of the 60’s that he was talking to, and the post-modernists of today would simply not understand what someone using a more classical approach (or a tract-based approach, either) was saying. That since they ar human beings made in the Image of God, that we owe it to them to respect them and try to understand them, and to communicate with them in a way that they would understand, rather than write them off. He also believed that Christianity integrated all of life, not on some ‘spiritual plane’ but in real, everyday, material life. He believed that the art works and science of the unsaved were valuable, because those people are made in the Image of God, whether they know that or not. He did not believe that we have "An unbearable lightness of being", though he understood the feeling and the pain that that can cause in people who don’t yet understand. His wife’s books really stand along with them in giving a more accurate view of their life and work.

Hard to know what to recommend first, but three of his more philosophical books (_The God Who is There_, _Escape from Reason_ (against Skinner, and in favor of reason), and _He is There and He is Not Silent_) have been published as _Trilogy_, and his wife, Edith’s book _Common Sense Christian Living_ has just been republished, and may be her most important work, or one of them. Her _Forever Music_ is also quite good. She starts with the baby grand Steinway someone gave her (I remember singing Christmas carols with her granddaughter Kirsty playing it), and meanders off through the _Music of the Ainur_ in Tolkien, to the Psalm that talks about the morning stars singing together, to string theory and back.

Schaeffer has a lot of interesting things to say about developments in culture and in the way science is done over the past hundred years that I think might strike a chord with you.

Peter Kreeft is still alive, and teaching at Boston College. His numerous books are more similar to Lewis’, but much more Roman Catholic.

He has all sorts of good books too, such as: _Socrates Meets Jesus_ and _The God Who Loves You_, he also wrote one with CSL as a character in a ‘waiting room’ along with Aldous Huxley and JFK, who all died on the same day. Not his best work, but enjoyable to C. S. Lewis fans.

I have benefitted from both, though I’ve had more contact with L’Abri, having studied in the Massachusetts branch, and knowing Mrs. Schaeffer, his widow, here in Rochester, Minnesota.

In Christ our Lord,

Steve Schaper


For the great Gaels of Ireland

Are the men that God made mad,

For all their wars are merry,

And all their songs are sad.

G. K. Chesterton,

_Ballad of the White Horse_




It is a remarkable coincidence that Aldous Huxley and C. S. Lewis died on the same day that Kennedy was shot. No one noticed, yet either was, I think a greater man than Kennedy although neither ever held public office. I have not seen the 'anteroom' piece and I will go look for it.



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