Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2002 > Mid-February 2002 Edition

Mid-February 2002 Edition


Today is Mardi Gras, the day before the start of the Lenten fast in Catholic lands, including New Orleans and the south of Louisiana.

Reports are that the famous celebrations in New Orleans are a little thinner this year, partly from fear of terrorism born of the 11 September attack; partly from the abnormally cold weather; and partly from the Super Bowl, held later than usual, again because of 11 September.

Today is also the start of the Chinese New Year, celebrated wherever there are Chinese: China, Taiwan, southeast Asia, and the United States. This starts the Year of the Horse, a symbol of strength and success, so the celebrations ought to be greater this year.

Today is also Abe Lincoln's birthday. No celebrations, though: Nobody in the USA celebrates Lincoln's birthday like they once did. I suppose we have become a nation of ingrates for not celebrating the man who kept the nation from shattering in war.

For those who say, "Isn't that what Presidents Day is for?", I reply (1) that Congress never intended the third Monday in February to be anything other than Washington's birthday; (2) that nobody should have to honor presidents who deserve no honor whatsoever, like James Buchanan (Lincoln's incompetent predecessor) or like every president who served since 1960.

Let the British buffoonery begin!

Here is the latest in the saga of British Telecommunications (BT) trying to enforce an old patent on the hyperlink. BT is taking the ancient on-line service Prodigy to court in a test case to see if it can milk American ISPs for every click of a link on every web page. The trial began yesterday (11 February).

The patent is baseless, of course, since the concept of hyperlinking existed long BT filed it. But that isn't stopping BT, even though it is deep in debt, because the patent promises to be a big cash cow for the company.

And, just because a patent is baseless does not mean that BT cannot win: For the American judicial system possesses a logic that is beyond common sense; how else does it let people suit their fellows for so much as looking at them funny.

Never mind that, if BT wins, the Web will be seriously disrupted, as millions of sites begin combing links off their pages, just to keep from paying the stupid Brits! Even if BT wins, it will be an object of scorn, a reek in the noses of every netizen, and of almost every company on the Internet. That loss of goodwill will be more damaging to BT than any possible revenue it might gain from the patent suit.

It is obvious what is driving BT to this: Greed and stupidity, unrivaled in its blindness, unrivaled even by Americans.


To our surprise, during the monthly staff meeting my co-workers and I received a quarterly Kudos for our work during the past three months.

The Kudos came to us for our work in moving departments to the uppermost floor; for our handling of the Nimda virus attack; and for helping a branch when it was remodeling.

It would be my second quarterly Kudos. I received one for the fall quarter of 1999, mainly for not quitting with the rest of my department during that dark year.

Most of my work this year has been in preparing obsolete computers for sale. These are Gateway GP5-200s. Although old by computer standards (more than three years old), they still work well. When they will be sold is anyone's guess.


Snappy is a very nifty video capture product, even if it is annoying to handle in preview mode. For grabbing images of the Kate off of videos (like the two that came in over the past month), it cannot be beat.

The problem with Snappy now, is that you can use it only with Windows 9x. It will not work with Windows XP. And there is no driver available in XP for Snappy, and there never will be: Play Incorporated, Snappy's maker, no longer exists. It disappeared, along with its once ever-present spokesperson, the gorgeous red-haired Kiki Stockhammer.

For that reason, I took an obsolete computer—the one with the blue case, which I bought from Stargazer 3 when it had a shop where the Giant Bar & Grill is now—and installed Windows 98 on it. The old Intel network connector lets me hook it to the DSL line in a snap.

After the ease comes the disease, though, and my box tripped into two: Windows Update and Riva TNT2.

When you update Windows 98 with the Microsoft Windows Update (http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com), do yourself a favor. If Microsoft offers to update your network, video, hard disk or some other hardware driver—don't accept! Once the update is done, you will find yourself in some quarter of Bug City, and need to reinstall Win98 all over again.

I bought a nVidia GeForce4-based video card (it was on sale at CompUSA) to install in my main box; then I swapped cards with all my computers. Now all my boxes have nVidia cards in them. The Win98 box has the troublesome card, on which the nVIDIA universal driver does not work very well, even if it is a Riva TNT2.

My next trick is to reinstall, ignore the Microsoft driver updates, and use the original CDs to install video and sound drivers.

The whole idea of this is to make a box fit enough to use Snappy with. Then I can pull images off the two videotapes with Caitlin Clarke, which I bought over the past month.

Copyright © 2003 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Last updated 30 November 2003.