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Computing At Chaos Manor:
The Mailbag

Jerry Pournelle jerryp@jerrypournelle.com
Copyright 2010 Jerry E. Pournelle, Ph.D.

August 23, 2010

We covered Flash Cookies in the current column. This came shortly after it was posted.

Flash cookies

There is a duplicate set of flash cookies at

C:\Users\[me]\AppData\Roaming\Macromedia\Flash Player\macromedia.com\support\flashplayer\sys

that is still following you. If you delete both folders, Flash complains that it has to be reinstalled. I disliked previous versions of Firefox for various reasons so I haven't tried BetterPrivacy. I developed a work-around last year that works in Vista and Win7, for all browsers since it is OS-based.

I reset the security for both locations to nobody-but-me and they both stay empty. I once received an error message, an html alternate text message that I had to enable flash cookies to view a certain video, but I find it interesting that it doesn't complain when these folders are disabled. I can't view any current store ads or coupons at shoplocal.com, but it is just blank, not complaining. I also find it interesting that, although I have mentioned this on various tech sites, no one has ever mentioned it or contacted me.

Your comment about maybe wanting it for some reasons, say wanting to read the WSJ, just flashed a way into my mind that might permit that. One is to open the files, take the particular cookie, then reclose them but add the webpage url as a permitted user. However I would prefer a dedicated system used for only those sites. After all, any time you accept a cookie, you are permitting that site to read and/or write ANYWHERE on your system. The command specification doesn't restrict you to the standard cookies folder, as this application proves. Until M$ locks down more of these legacy commands, such as listed in today's article , I can live without the WSJ and shoplocal.

Did you note in the April Audit Bureau of Circulations Report that the WSJ was the only Top 25 newspaper to increase circulation? Our local paper, the Tribune-Review. also managed that feat.

Don Miller

Enabling and accepting cookies does not enable the site sending the cookie to write anywhere in your system. However, if you have installed Flash, there are areas where sites can freely store cookies unless you have done something to change that. I was not aware that Macromedia had enabled more than one location for cookie acceptance. The BetterPrivacy Addon appears to find all the Flash cookies (and unless they are protected, delete them each time you close Firefox, or when you tell it to), but I can't guarantee that. I am beginning to understand why Jobs will not allow Flash on iPad and iPhone. Who knows what other tracking mechanisms may get built into Flash?

Note that cookie, beacons, and other tracking software can be used by third parties to follow your Internet habits.

Thomas Edison in 1921 predicts death of textbooks


Adding some perspective to the book publishing thing...

Thomas Edison predicted the death of textbooks as quoted in his "Diary and Sundry Observations".

I've seen the quote dated as both 1916 and 1921, but I've been unable to verify that. The book that I found containing the quote does not verify the date. Here is what I found in my local library:

"Maybe I'm wrong, but I should say that in 10 years textbooks as the principal method of teaching will be as obsolete as the horse and carriage are now. I believe that in the next 10 years visual education ­ the imparting of exact information through the motion picture camera ­ will be a matter of course in all of our schools....Books are clumsy methods of instruction at best, and even the words of explanation in them have to be explained."

In The Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison
Dagobert D. Runes, Editor
Philosophical Library, New York, 1948
Page 65 and 78, though I see nothing to document the date.

This is another example of Kriz's Laws of Prediction:

1. Most things that are predicted never happen.
2. Most things that happen are never predicted.

I recite these from time to time to remind myself not to be anxious about anything. Being anxious won't add a single hour to my life.

All the best.
--Harry M.

Edison was clearly wrong about the role of books for the rest of his century, but there is a point to his thought that the use of movies and audiovisuals would change education. I do sometimes wonder if we have not made education too dependent on "book knowledge" and have got too far from the notion of apprenticeship and practical learning which is generally not best acquired from books. Our universities now pay enormous salaries to people to think up and publish nonsense instead of getting into the classrooms to teach. If you want an example, examine contemporary "Theory", which refers to "Criticism." Note that this once mean literary criticism, but it is now to be applied to everything in life. It would be hilarious if it were not taken so seriously, and a great deal of money is extracted from taxpayers who can ill afford it to pay people to profess this.

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof, but I do not think that was a command to be imprudent. Some very undesirable consequences are both predictable and avoidable.

"As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!"

An interesting note on storage:

Seagate pushes HAMR as next big thing

Interesting technology, and could be a great leap in density for magnetic storage, but there is a distinct possibility we'll end up all solid state for mass storage in the next 5 years or so.


Seagate pushes HAMR as next big thing

Killer tech may arrive in 2015

By Chris Mellor

Posted in Storage http://www.theregister.co.uk/hardware/storage/ , 10th August 2010 09:27

Seagate is bigging up HAMR (Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording) as the replacement to take us beyond the disk capacity limits of current PMR technology.

PMR (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording) involves the magnetisation of tiny bits of magnetic material, made up of grains, oriented vertically in the recording medium. As the size of these needle-like structures decreases so too does their ability to resist magnetism changes from temperature fluctuations and neighbouring PMR "needles".

Two ways have been suggested to get around this. One is bit-patterned media (BPM) recording, which involves putting an insulating doughnut-like ring around bits laid out in a precise and very hard to produce pattern. The other is to use a recording medium in which the tiny bits have to be heated in order to have their magnetic direction changed - this is called HAMR.

Both HAMR and BPM use will involve substantial and costly development and changes to production machinery. Shingle writing (using partially overlapping tracks to increase track density) is being proposed by suppliers such as Hitachi GST as a kind of temporary fix to extend the life of PMR by increasing capacity by 10-50 per cent.

As reported in ConceivablyTech [1], Seagate's recording media operations VP, Mark Re, thinks PMR can get areal density to 1Tbit/in2, and we'll reach that in the 2013-2015 period.

Tracy Walters, CISSP

Information Technology Consultant

Peter Glaskowsky observes:

Jerry, I don't know if you picked up on the fact that the technology in the story "Seagate pushes HAMR as next big thing" is basically just the latest version of magneto-optical drives. I really miss that technology. It was a great thing at the time. I invested thousands of dollars into drives and disks, and never regretted a penny of it.

In fact I was among the very first writers to look into Magneto Optical disks and drives, which I supported heavily. I still have MO drives, but unfortunately at the moment I don't have a system with a SCSI drive in it, and all my MO drives are SCSI. The last time I fired up a SCSI system was several years ago. The MI drives worked perfectly and all the data on them was readable. Since MO involves phase state changes in the media, and that requires high heat, there is no casual deterioration of digital data on MO drives; it takes physical damage or heat to make them unreadable.

This reminds me that I need to get a SCSI 1 - That's SCSI ONE - interface on one or another of my machines, or more likely find a SCSI 1 to USB adaptor. I know of several SCSI 2 to USB adaptors, and I'm sure there's a way to get my ancient SCSI 1 device connected to something. I just haven't looked very hard, because I don't think I have anything on MO that didn't get converted to DVD; but I'm not sure.

The lesson for those who store documents in "permanent" formats should be obvious.

Subject: Kindle for iPad


I don't know if you've noticed yet, but there is an update for Kindle for iPad available in the iStore. It makes, a good app much better. It has a dictionary, and links to Google and Wikipedia for word lookup. THe Google and Wikipedia links are a little awkward right now, since they terminate Kindle and launch Safari when a lookup is done. However, the notes indicate that the app is OS4 multitasking ready, so that when OS4 arrives for iPad, things will work the way they should.

Kindle for iPad was good before, but it's now better than Kindle itself for reading ebooks in virtually every way.

Very much recommended!!



I found using that feature annoying and I'll wait until it is perfected. But the standard unimproved Kindle for iPad works very well indeed, and given my druthers I'd rather read a Kindle book on the iPad than on the Kindle. That is not really intended as a derogation of the Kindle, which is quite good enough for books, and is smaller and fits in a coat pocket. Alas, Kindle is not good enough - at least for me - as a device for reading newspapers and magazines.

IPhone 4g is not a 4g phone

Hi Jerry,

I noticed in the most recent mailbag that Phil believes the iPhone 4g to have 4th generation wireless powers. Most concerning is that he mentions WiMax as the technology used.

As a happy Sprint customer, I won't be getting an iPhone anytime soon. I am quite satisfied with my Android device anyway. But I digress.

WiMax technology is what Sprint and Clearwire use for the ONLY deployed 4g network. (Yes... plucky Sprint has had 4g for something like 2 years now, although they only just introduced the first 4g smartphone.

At any rate, when AT&T rolls out 4th generation data services, it has stated, along with all other major carriers that they will use the competing technology to WiMax, LTE or Long Term Evolution. Only Sprint has signed on, and actually has delivered 4th generation data services, and only Sprint uses WiMax.

What we have here with the iPhone 4g is clever marketing using the logical progression in naming the iPhone series of phones. 4g refers to the 4th generation iPhone, and I haven't seen any mention of WiMax, or even the more likely LTE 4th generation mobile internet technology mentioned in the specifications.

I hope it is upgradable, but it seems to me that the clever naming convention is misleading in the area of network capability.

Sent using my Android

Yes, I should have noted that the iPhone 4 is not a 4G device; but I do suspect that the hardware is all in there, and needs only software activation.

Peter Glaskowsky reminds me

Not only SHOULD you have said last month that the iPhone 4 doesn't have 4G wireless, you DID say that, because I pointed it out. Your reader John, this month, just didn't notice your correction. You wrote: "Of course iPhone 4 doesn't yet have 4G..."

Entertainingly, he also calls the iPhone 4 the "iPhone 4G", and neither Phil nor you made that mistake last month.

As a result, his conclusion that "What we have here with the iPhone 4g is clever marketing using the logical progression in naming the iPhone series of phones." is simply wrong; Apple didn't call it the "iPhone 4g" at all. They called it the iPhone 4 because it's the fourth model in the series (iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4).

And that ought to settle that... I still don't have an iPhone 4, although I expect to get one soon.

iPad vs. Kindle


I recently bought an Apple iPad and last year bought a Kindle DX (larger Kindle). Here are my thoughts:

The iPad is, as you say, a game changer. It finally brings tablet computing to the level where people are at least interested in using it for a variety of things. Doing Windows in a tablet format was too cumbersome to catch on and I suspect that a more pure Mac OS tablet wouldn't have been as accepted either. Computers are meant to do more things and that makes them more complicated to use. Expanding the work Apple did on the IPhone/ITouch to the iPad was the right move as it brought the right balance of usefulness to everyday people without the complexity of carrying a full blown computer around.

(That said, I wish Steve Jobs wasn't so determined to make us bleed with him on the bleeding edge of Internet standards by refusing to allow Flash on the iPad. Yes, the new standard may have all the benefits he claims. However, a good portion of the Internet still uses Flash for video and other applications and his position makes my iPad less useful than it could have been. I would have considered an Android-equivalent but it doesn't appear that one with the equivalent size and features (+ flash) will be out for at least a year. The devices that appear to be coming out now are usually smaller and/or have other deficiencies.)

I have read Kindle and other books (ibook) on the iPad and I enjoy the experience. It is easier to swipe a finger than push that little joystick around to navigate on the Kindle. However, for carrying something around outside the house I prefer the Kindle because it is built sturdier and now it is not so expensive to replace if something were to happen. I'm too afraid something will happen to my more expensive iPad.

I think the iPad isn't so much of a Kindle-killer as much as a Kindle-demoter. The iPad can definitely do much more than what the Kindle does, however, there are times that I just want to read and the Kindle does that just fine. I know older people who don't want all those iPad features and just want to read books. They bought the Kindle. The iPad pushed the Kindle and other similar devices into a lower price-niche than where it was previously, however, I don't think it will push them out of existence. I believe that as more e-book readers come out the prices for them will go down and make e-books more accessible to everyday people.

Both the iPad and Kindle have their place and I think they both will be around for a long time.


Nathan Stiltner

I pretty well agree with all you say. Note that Flash does introduce some features to make it easier to track what you have been browsing to while making it harder to refuse the cookies or delete them; and that may not be the only vulnerability introduced into the iPhone/iPad system.

I believe both iPad and Kindle will be greatly improved in features and performance, and their prices will fall rapidly, particularly for Kindle which is less costly to make. I intend to keep and use both.

Apple's control of iPhone/iPad applications

Hi Jerry,

I've wanted one of the handheld computers from "The Mote in God's Eye" ever since I read the book. We're getting closer, and that's exciting ... but Apple's closed application store reduce the iPhone's and iPad's attractiveness to me.

As a user, who is Steve Jobs to say what applications I may run on my hardware?

As a developer, who is Steve Jobs to say whether I may or may not sell (or even give away) an application that I develop?

If you've expressed an opinion on Apple's "Big Brother" policy on their application store I'm afraid I've missed it; your opinion (and that of your readers) would interest me.

Best regards,

Giles Lean

Mr. Jobs has stated that he intends to control what goes on iPhone and iPad to insure the quality of experience for users. If that policy is onerous enough it will cost him; but so far, the number of devices sold, and the number of applications available for Apple devices, makes it clear that there's a big market for them. Some people prefer to be protected by "Big Brother." Indeed, many of the criticisms I hear of Microsoft are of "problems and defects" that users can fix for themselves if they want to.

Netbook vs. iPad vs. Kindle

After looking, playing with, watching people, using these devices here are some comments.

Everyone seems to want to cover the glass monitor screen. 100% of the Kindles and iPads I've seen have some type of slip cover. Netbooks and laptops are designed with a hinged keyboard which covers the screen.

The easiest way to read a book or magazine is in portrait mode. Kindle and iPad do this natively. If the laptop/netbook made it easy to switch to a portrait mode for reading it would be a HUGE advantage.

Kindle - excellent replacement for a stack of books. Great battery life

iPad - an amazing device ... still too expensive. Extremely well integrated with the Apple universe. You can play scrabble on the iPad and each player can use their iphone or ipod touch as the holder for your letter tiles. You can flick a letter from your iphone and it lands on the iPad where you can place it in the appropriate square. This is just too cool for school. Definitely need a keyboard for any serious typing.

Netbook - current best price/performance. If there is an easy way to rotate the display 90 degrees this would be my choice for the best travel device. You can read books, watch movies, surf the web, and work on office applications.

Jim Coffey

I note that LisaBetta, my ancient HP Compaq tc1100 TabletPC, has no problem rotating from landscape to portrait view. She can do a lot more than the iPad, too; but I find I carry the iPad and my paper logbook in a handsome leather shoulder bag I bought in Venice in the 1970's, and leave LisaBetta behind. Battery life, weight, ease of use, all make me choose the iPad, and I often carry it to places I would never have taken LisaBetta. I still love that old TabletPC, and if I could get something just like her that would run Windows 7 at reasonable speeds, I would reconsider. I really do like handwriting recognition...

On searching in PDFs...

pdf search

Re Dave Checkley's remark: in the Acrobat Reader toolbar is a "find" box that searches for text. I don't know how many versions ago it appeared, but I've used it for longer than I can remember (which is a shorter time than it used to be.) Good luck.

Don Miller

Contra Messr. Checkley - .pdfs are definitely searchable within an iPad .pdf reader like GoodReader.

Also, he can read books in .prc or .epub format via Bookshelf or Stanza on the iPad, no matter where he lives. If the Kindle App for iPad/iPhone isn't yet available for folks living in Italy, it will be soon.

And of course, if folks have a US-based credit card with a US-based billing address, they can make use of the Kindle App for iPad/iPhone and purchase/download Kindle books anywhere in the world.

Roland Dobbins

Yes I should have caught that. Of course you can search pdf files.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Microcells and billing.

I loved your comment about microcells. "I find it absurd that you have to pay AT&T fifty bucks to get the service you're already paying for, but it's sure nice to have the phone work all over the house. "

I do not have a big problem with paying them $50 for the hardware. Hardware costs money after all. What I find really absurd is that when using the microcell you paid for and the internet connection you paid for AT&T has the nerve to count the time you use the microcell on you calling plan minutes!

BTW if you use data over the microcell that counts on your cap so be sure you turn on wifi on the iphone in your home.



I believe the ATT Microcell, which uses the WiFi bandwidth that YOU pay for to patch AT&T inadequate network coverage, counts both data and minutes used via the Microcell against your total 3G limits. For me, that's a deal breaker. I am not going to buy the gadget, pay for internet service and then have usage over a Microcell count against phone bandwidth caps.

The policy is inexplicable; it almost seems ATT wants this thing to fail. With a simple policy change, this would become a great concept, but as it stands now it is a non-starter.


Why the AT&T MicroCell offends me so much

Hi Jerry.

Always enjoy your Chaos Manor articles, including the ones I don't entirely agree with. For instance, as much as I love the iPhone, the iPad really does nothing for me. My joke whenever people ask me what I think about the iPad is that I actually found something better: the iPhone. Does everything the iPad does, but it also has a camera, fits in my pocket, and even works as a phone!

But what do I know? I still use a desktop computer at home. I accept (nay, tolerate) the "curated" experience in my iPhone, but I want my main computer to be a little bit more... mine.

I often agree with you though. You write: "I find it absurd that you have to pay AT&T fifty bucks to get the service you're already paying for".

That's precisely my feeling about this MicroCell business, but I think it's worse than that: not only you are paying for hardware to help them deliver to you the service you are already paying for, but now you are also allowing them to use FOR FREE the Internet broadband service you are also paying for. And that from a company that has spent so many millions trying to tell me that they have more bars in more places. Not in my neighborhood, they don't.

MicroCell is wrong on so many levels, that even if AT&T sent me one for free, I'd return it to sender with a nastygram. MicroCell is almost as dishonest as AT&T charging $20 monthly for the iPhone tethering thing, but not including any extra bandwidth with the service (tethering should've been a phone setting, not an account option, especially now that AT&T killed the unlimited plan).

I hate to leave the iPhone behind, but Apple is about to lose one customer, as my 2 year commitment is over and I'm looking for an alternative to get rid of AT&T. I may get an Android or unlock my current iPhone and keep it until Apple comes to its senses and gets rid of AT&T. Why they keep choosing to limit their hardware to a single carrier (and such a bad one) is beyond me. There must be a lot of money on the table for them...



Peter Glaskowsky comments

LWATCDR says "What I find really absurd is that when using the microcell you paid for and the internet connection you paid for AT&T has the nerve to count the time you use the microcell on you calling plan minutes!" This is not necessarily true, and not fair. The subscriber can sign up for an extra-cost plan that provides unlimited voice calling through the MicroCell for no additional cost.

The statement is unfair because the MicroCell is not the whole solution for voice or data. Obviously the MicroCell, connecting only to the Internet as it does, can't inject a phone call into the wired telephone network or the cellphone network. Instead, the MicroCell establishes the most direct connection possible into AT&T's private network, which handles the rest of the work of routing the call. So even if you're using a MicroCell, a large part of the cost of the call (or data access) is still paid by AT&T, and it's fair for the company to expect to be paid for that.

Wanderley says "you are also allowing them to use FOR FREE the Internet broadband service you are also paying for". Well, no, AT&T doesn't gain any access to your Internet connection, and the MicroCell can't be used by random strangers driving by. The subscriber decides what phones can connect to the MicroCell.

Chuck's conclusions are wrong for the same reason.

I have to confess that I am not entirely impartially rational regarding the new AT&T, which in my experience bears more resemblance to the parodies of "The Phone Company" from back before the breakup of the old AT&T than I like to think about.

I had mixed emotions about the old AT&T. The argument in its favor as a regulated public utility were the standard "natural monopoly" arguments. The arguments for breaking it up into components were powerful. But the old AT&T was fanatical about providing dial service under any and all conditions, and my experiences with PTT systems in the 50's through 70's made me glad to get back to AT&T after a trip to Europe. And I never forget that AT&T maintained Bell Laboratories which was nothing less than the Advanced Planning and Research department of the human race. The old AT&T was already losing its monopoly to new technologies, and how it would have coped with the Internet is an interesting speculation. In any event Judge Green made his decision, and the deed is done.

Regarding Microcell, fortunately I have one of those "all you can eat" accounts for 3G, but while MicroCell works for me, it's not very convenient. I know it's possible to have good cell phone service without boosters here because it was just fine when we had Cingular. Then Cingular bought AT&T and changed its name, and Lo! the service went all to beans all over Studio City.

To make it worse, the MicroCell sort of just barely works in some rooms of my house; too many walls in the way, I guess. It's a big house. Mostly, though, MicroCell does the job.

I do agree that AT&T puts itself at a disadvantage with its lousy coverage, and the iPhone is far the worse for the compulsory association; I'm hardly the only commentator to reach that conclusion. As to iPad, I find I never use 3G connectivity. My internal Wi-Fi net is more than good enough when I'm home, and when I take the iPad out I generally find a Wi-Fi connection; or if I don't, the iPhone 3G is good enough. I carry both of course.

The older USA-specific hardware Kindles won't work with the AT&T MicroCell because their radios only works on Sprint's CDMA network.

The newer international-capable Kindles make use of GSM, which is the technology used for AT&T's 3G network; I believe they work on AT&T's network in the USA, and so would work with the MicroCell, as well.

Roland Dobbins

Thanks for the warning. Alas, the newer Kindle is not recognized as a phone - it doesn't have a phone number, and thus you can't tell the MicroCell to permit it - and does not actually work. It would be a good modification, and perhaps AT&T and Amazon can work something out.

Antec Notebook Cooler and Books


Thanks for the recommendation to purchase the Antec Notebook Cooler Basic and the Windows 7 Books. I picked the cooler up and it works very well. Also picked up a few books.

Links on Amazon.com, where I have the $75 free two-day shipping for a year membership. Makes it easy to buy stuff and get near-instant gratification:

Antec Notebook Cooler Basic.

Windows 7 Missing Manual

Windows 7 Annoyances: Tips, Secrets and Solutions

And for my users (who are all Accountants), this has nice easy to read color pictures The Official Magazine: A Real-Life Guide to Windows and Your PC

Tracy Walters, CISSP

Information Technology Consultant

I believe I have reviewed most of those books in the column; I have no problem recommending them. Incidentally, I too have found that paying the annual premium to Amazon saves me considerable money in shipping costs.

Producing on the iPad

Dear Jerry:

Those wanting to produce as well as consume content on the iPad should take a look at inCase Design's Travel Kit Plus, $59.95. It is a carrying solution that includes a plush-lined padded compartment for the iPad, a separate sleeve for the Bluetooth keyboard, and features a super handy little stand that holds the iPad in either portrait or landscape mode (at two different viewing angles), as well as having neatly-designed USB cable storage in its base. InCase also offers a Combo Charger for iPad that offers both prongs for A/C mains and a 12-volt car charger in one device ($39.95). The case itself is about 2-1/4 x 12 x 8 inches and weighs just ounces; there's plenty of room inside for a Kindle and other small accessories (like a micro-fibre cleaning cloth for the smudge-magnet screen!), and offers a slick solution for data entry on the iPad. At home my iPad lives in Marware's leather cover, but it's a matter of mere seconds to slip it out and into the InCase Travel Kit when hitting the road.

Check it out here: Travel Kit Plus for iPad : Products By Incase

All the very best,


A neat gadget. Thanks.

Amazon Sells More E-Books Than Hardcovers


"E-books have hit the mainstream, and for the first time are consistently outselling their pulp-and-ink brethren, according to Amazon.com. "Amazon hit a symbolic milestone last holiday season, when for one day its sales of e-books exceeded the number of dead-tree books it had sold.

"Now the company has hit a more significant milestone, selling 143 e-books for every 100 hardcover books sold over the course of the second quarter. The rate is accelerating: For the past month, Amazon sold 180 e-books for every 100 hardcovers, and it sold three times as many e-books in the first six months of this year as it did in the first half of 2009.


(Wired link).


I have commented on this in other places. Moreover, Amazon now says that it expects to sell more Kindle Books than paperback in the next year. I suspect that included in those 'sales' will be many free or very low price books, but still, it's an amazing thing to contemplate. As we've observed, the world of publishing is changing like dreams.

Hi Jerry,

Just saw a nice piece on writing plain text everywhere with a bare-bones simple app called SimpleNote. It runs on everything, including iPad, synchs files with one click and has a web interface to remotely synch and work on files.

(Lifehacker link)

Robert Hickey


Hi Jerry,

I'm a subscriber and I read your stuff everyday. After reading your June 22 Column and reflecting. I'm ready to order an iPad. Wifi only. What is your opinion on the 16G model. Will I regret not going to the 32G (which would be stretching it. 64G is out of the question.)? I have a laptop and a netbook so I'm not interested in doing real work with it but I don't want to be penny wise and pound foolish.

Thanks for the years of enjoyment I have had from knowing your through your writing. (Since the Byte days.) I only met you once at Comdex in Chicago but feel like you're an old friend because your writing is so personable.


Phil Quardokus

As I have said elsewhere, I find I don't need the 3G connection for the iPhone. I do think the 32G model worth the extra, but that's on the general principle that you seldom regret the first upgrade. I have to say, though, that I haven't needed the extra memory yet. But then I don't watch many movies on the iPad. I use it for other things.

iPad frenzy

As a long time distrusting-of-Apple person, with no macintosh, ipod, iphone or anything else from Mr Jobs, I am the proud owner of an iPad, and I think it's terrific. Definitely the way of the future. Sad about the closed software approach (Apple iStore only route in) and iTunes on the pc is especially buggy for me (Windows 7 with 8Gbytes of RAM). Even so, I use the iPad incessantly.

Canberra, Australia.

Sent from my iPad, trite but true.

I get a lot of mail like this, and from many places. It's astonishing how many thought they had no use for Apple, and less for an iPad, went to the Apple store to see it out of curiosity, and now use it 'incessantly.'

Dear Dr. Pournelle,

The iPad has been available in Canada now for about a month. I tried it one day when I was in Best Buy. Using Safari I went to Pcmag.com, one of my regular sites. The site has a scroll box which lists articles, reviews etc. On a pc or Mac, when you click or drag the scroll bar down it will reveal additional articles. On the iPad when you try to do this the whole page scrolls. Tapping on the scroll bar doesn't work nor does trying to drag the little blue button. I know the iPad doesn't support Flash but I don't think Pcmag.com uses Flash for this part of their site. Java maybe? I 'm not a programmer so I'm only guessing. Many sites have scroll boxes within their sites and not being able to access them will keep me from buying an iPad at this time.

Thank you

Christopher Payne

One of my few negative reports. I can't say I have had any such problems. I now regularly read the Wall Street Journal on my iPad. I have just visited PC Mag on both the iPad and the iMac, and I don't have any problems with scrolling.

Safari Reader vs. Firefox & Readability


Though a longtime user of Firefox, I was moved to try Safari 5 to get the Reader feature, which plucks large blocks of text from web pages and presents them in very clean, readable form. It's great when the original web page font is squinty or the article is broken up with too many ads.

However, I've gone back to Firefox. I touch many websites a day. The way the bookmarks sidebar works with left and middle clicks in Firefox makes for very convenient and efficient browsing. I suppose someone will soon come up with a Firefox add-on that works like the Safari Reader. In the meantime, there's Readability.

Just go to the website, select a few preferences, and drag the Readability button to the bookmarks toolbar. Then while viewing a page that you'd like to clean up, click the Readability bookmark, and the page is replaced with the cleaned-up view. It's not perfect. Sometimes it can't find the right block of text (it will only show Monday at Chaos Manor), and, unlike Safari Reader, it doesn't automatically join multi-part articles. Still, it's very fast and works with most pages I've tried.


Hmm. Thanks. I find I use Firefox for nearly all my browsing except for the iPhone, on which I use Safari. I understand there is a Firefox app for iPhone, and at some point I may try it, but I have to say that for what I do on the iPhone Safari is sufficient.

The iPhone gives one new ways to be rude, as in looking stuff up on the web when having breakfast at a restaurant with wife and friends.