Dr. Jerry Pournelle

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Mailbag for October 16, 2006
Jerry Pournelle jerryp@jerrypournelle.com
Copyright 2006 Jerry E. Pournelle, Ph.D.

October 16, 2006

A light mixed bag this week.

I have been enduring an attack of arthritis that makes it hard to sit at the keyboard. A number of readers have suggested work arounds.

Subject: Jerry: Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9 and vox repetitive strain injuries


I have been using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9 and find it highly functional for taking referenced notes while reading technical books and articles. Some initial training is required, and the environment must be fairly quiet, but it works. I've found it possible to use a Sony ICD-MX20 voice recorder (top rated by Dragon) and headset while sitting comfortably in a deserted library corner, then upload for processing.

It is astounding to see this technology actually function -- dual cores and 2 gigs of RAM blazing-- after decades of work. SciFi come to life.

How people like the Bakers ever imagined a light at the end of the tunnel from 1970 or even 1990 I cannot imagine: link

One caveat is sometimes overlooked... the human voice works by muscles, tendons, flesh and blood. It is not magically immune from repetitive strain injuries. Serious users may need pointers from voice coaches on how to keep their larynx properly lubricated with air, and all that. Still, voice interaction gives another option to vary and rest parts of the human musculoskeletal interface.

--John Ganter

I have older versions of Dragon Naturally Speaking and I have found that if I am careful it works reasonably well. I really should try the newest ones; yours is not the only recommendation I have.

I do not naturally dictate: I find that it's easier to write, and if I hold my head up - meaning that if I put the monitor up higher - I can work longer. Still, I may yet find myself required to dictate while lying down, so it's probably time to get the new Dragon and learn to use it properly. Thanks.

Subject: Dual-boot Vista

Both Vista Beta and RC-1 asked whether I wanted to overwrite an XP installation or put in a clean install, and both times, when I said use another folder, it let me go to another hard drive, then installed Boot Manager to ask if I wanted Windows or "an older version of Windows." I can play around with Vista and go back to my real work easily. I've been thinking about getting a 4-gig flash card and trying to install to that, the way some "comsultants" do with Linux.

Donald Miller

Many people run Linux from a CD or DVD, so that only data files remain on the hard drive. I don't think Vista will work that way, but perhaps it would work from a flash drive. I've never tried that.

Incidentally, RC/2 seems to install stably as an "upgrade" from XP on an Intel dual core machine, but of course I haven't been beating on that very long. It might blow up tomorrow.

I received this letter:

Subject: Are Vista 64-bit drivers/apps likely to work with Win2k3 x64 server??

Dr. Pournelle,

Perhaps foolishly, I invested in the 64-bit version of Windows 2003 Server x 64 to run on a dual Opteron system. I have it pretty much running, but there is still a real dearth of 64-bit software (no surprise) and 64-bit device drivers (bigger surprise) available. I'm NOT going to want to switch to Vista after paying a fortune for this software unless there is some compelling reason to do so. So the question is this: what is the liklihood that 64-bit drivers for Vista will work with 64-bit Windows 64 bit OSes? Is there any discussion on this anywhere?

I'd like to see that discussed (am I the only one in this boat?) in your writings if you have any thoughts on it.


Joe VanZandt, Ph.D.

I asked my associates about this, but no one knew. Peter Glaskowsky said

I don't know if Microsoft has addressed this question directly. If so, I haven't seen it. But Vista has its own driver models for graphics and other things, so some Vista drivers definitely won't work with Windows Server 2003. Others might because there's some code sharing between Server 2003 and Vista. I'd ask WaggEd.

. png

I have an inquiry in with Waggener-Edstrom, but so far I have no replies. Stay tuned.

And now in a lighter vein...

Dear Jerry:

OK, you've seen a woman dance. You've seen one do acrobatics. But have you ever seen one do either while twirling a hula-hoop? With her foot? Which is over her head?

Go to You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGXnC18nlTg) for video.


Stephen M. St. Onge