Saturday, June 26, 2004

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BOOK Reviews


This is an annotated Table of Contents, with attempts to explain what's happening. It has to some extent been overtaken by the TOUR GUIDE, but nothing I do seems to be kept up to date as well as it should be. I'm dancing as fast as I can... There is an older Table of Contents that still has some interesting stuff about this place, and there is New Order which attempts to make Order out of this Chaos. 

Search: type in string and press return.


THIS PAGE IS HISTORICAL . It has not been revised in years, and is of historical interest only if that.


If you have not yet done so, go find out:

What is this place you've got to?

What's New Here?

Email Address

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Updated (more or less) daily:  The View From Chaos Manor   and     Chaos Manor Mail.  Each week of those has a topic list at the top. View is about what I'm doing just now. Mail is about what everyone else is doing.

Running Indices: New Order (i.e. order from chaos), and VIEWDEX which more or less indexes VIEW. These are revised more or less weekly, and will give some notion of topics covered. There are two previous editions of Viewdex (1) and (2) which deal with past weeks of View. Viewdex and New Order are prepared by Chaos Manor Volunteer John Rice, and many thanks are due him; they make it easier to figure what's happening.


UPDATED when I get to it and worth a look: WHAT'S NEW AT CHAOS MANOR

SEE: ROBERTA Pournelle's READING PROGRAM if you have any questions about how to teach children to read. It works.

My columns written after the last real BYTE

What HAPPENED to BYTE Magazine at least as I saw it happen.

If you came looking for LINUX, there's a lot; see the current view for details. There are a number of LINUX pages.

For Special Reports by contributors, click here. The reports are listed on that page.

If you are new here, VIEW and MAIL are dynamic, and updated often. However, there's a lot here that's older, and a lot more that changes fast enough that I can't keep up with posting descriptions here. There are books, and reports, and random observations, and if you don't find something interesting here I'll give you sixpence. Actually I won't but that's all right because there aren't any thruppence coins being minted anyay. We get special reports from experts, there are pictures, and all kinds of stuff scattered around here. You can even find a discussion on the meaning of "Bob's your uncle." There's stuff on Velikovsky, the Dean Drive, the Microsoft Halloween papers, Space travel, and if you wait a while almost everything else. Have fun. For more on politics and sociology, see Alt.Mail.

atom.gif (1053 bytes)atom.gif (1053 bytes)  An indexed contents page:  NEW ORDER. Kept more or less up to date thanks to Chaos Manor Volunteer John Rice. This page will give you directions on finding various features, essays, space travel stuff, and so forth.

VIEWDEX1 indexes the View From Chaos Manor through October 18, 1989. VIEWDEX makes an index of VIEW from then to present, and is dynamic. Worth looking through to get an idea of just what we try to do here. These pages are courtesy of John Rice, for which many thanks.

With luck we will do a more complete index; meanwhile be sure to see New Order and Viewdex.

An experiment: new table of contents  a bot that generates a real table of contents for this web site. It's not terribly well organized but it does show every page.

read book now





Now follow several specifics, which if they aren't interesting you should go through fast, because toward the bottom there's a bit more about the sort of stuff you can find here.

Special Reports by Robert Bruce Thompson: Digital Camera and Upgrading Old Kerby Thare are actually more now: see New Order.

Pot of Gold.gif (580 bytes)A new rant by Peter Glaskowsky on stealing the Workstation Terms

atom.gif (1053 bytes)The Microsoft Monopoly Debates

  atom.gif (1053 bytes) Thursday July 9, 1998  A special report by Peter Glaskowsky

atom.gif (1053 bytes) NEW Sunday July 5, 1998 A new Space Paper (actually several years old but still current).

atom.gif (1053 bytes)NEW (Wednesday July 1, 1998) More Pictures. Just starting. Will be updated often.

NEW (Monday, June 29, 1998) Alex on Word Weirdness

atom.gif (1053 bytes)NEW (Monday, June 29, 1998) Windows 98 discussion.

 NEW (Saturday, June 27, 1998) Web construction details, largely Front Page

 NEW (Tuesday, June 23, 1998) Spacemail

book.gif (1625 bytes) NEW (Tuesday, June 23, 1998) The return of the Book of the Month

NEW: (Monday, June 22, 1998): David Em's Graphics Report, updated daily.

 NEW: (Sunday, June 21, 1998)

Bob's Your Uncle: What we know about this phrase.

Web Construction: Mostly mail organized into this topic. (It ought to be integrated with the separate and much older blather done on web construction you'll find if you drill far enough, but I haven't done that yet. On the other hand, this page desperately needs organizing too.)

A PC EXPO report by former BYTE tech editor Russell Kay

  • Coming Up:

     TRIP REPORTS with photos: Finland with John Dvorak, and Israel with the Knights of St. Lazarus. When I have time to put those together there will be a LOT of pictures.

More Opera Pictures

   To comment on the BYTE Fiasco:




And while the rest of this may be interesting, it's WAY out of date and needs extensive revision which I will get at Real Soon Now. I keep it because some of the stuff prior to August 1998 is mentioned here and is still very interesting. Such as:

NEW as of June 9, 1998:

Chaos Manor Mail: selected reader mail and answers

NEW as of June 5, 1998:

New Stuff As Of May 30, 1998

    • Revised the Recommended or What We Use section.
      • Added page about Starwarm, my new novel from Tor books.

        Starswarm is now in a book store near you. Buy a copy.



      • Front Page 98

Stuff Available as of September 29, 1997

How to get my job. (Link to an essay I did in BYTE on how to become a writer.) Alas, with BYTE folded, this link may no longer work. I will try to get the original essay in here. Sorry about that. Give me a few more days.

DONE: HOW TO GET MY JOB is available here.

Pictures: Chaos Manor, Space Council, Mrs. Pournelle, opera society, etc.



  • Starswarm: Beginning chapters of my latest book.
    Strategy of Technology: entire book by Stefan T. Possony, Jerry Pournelle, and Francis X. Kane. Formerly a text at all three service academies and at the Air War College. Shareware. If you use this book, please send a dollar (a dollar bill will do) to Dr. Jerry E. Pournelle, STRATEGY OF TECHNOLOGY, 12358 Ventura Blvd. Box 372, Studio City, CA, 91604. I'll see that Dr. Possony's widow gets his share.
  • You can also find The Strategy of Technology HERE, and this may be more readable. The same rules apply.

Mrs. Pournelle's Reading Program: Link to her web site, and a few words by me.

Web Page Creation: some notes on getting started. This is BADLY out of date. I will begin a NEW page on this another time; the page pointed to above is for historical interest, and that it does have.

Chaos Manor User List: stuff we use and recommend. Updated from time to time. Incomplete, but growing. And as usual out of date...

Coming Real Soon Now:




 PICTURES: Be warned, BIG FILE. I have uploaded some pictures of Chaos Manor taken with the Olympus Camera. I also have some jpeg pictures of some of the stars of Marriage of Figaro, the last opera of the LA Opera season, including a very good picture of Mrs. Pournelle, and a shot of Jeremy Bentham, stuffed.

Reading: Mrs. Pournelle's THE LITERACY CONNECTION is a systematic phonics education (not testing; most so-called 'educational' programs are really testing games) program. For the moment it only runs on the Mac because it uses speech synthesis. We are making a Windows version, but Wintel text to speech is nowhere near good enough (the Mac's is; in fact Macintosh text to speech is superb and getting better) so we are having to do wave table files, meaning we need to put this out on a CDROM; the Mac version can be crammed onto two floppies. Find out more at http//; this program really works, and you can now order a copy through the web. Roberta put up her own commercial web site. The design and implementation were all her own work.

Regarding the reading program: We have results from both upper middle class and inner city schools and both primarily English speaking and English as second language pupils; the tested reading growth using the program is astonishing. I have a generic reply I send to inquiries; it's about 900 words.

THE FOLLOWING IS BADLY OUT OF DATE. For current word on what I am doing now, see the Work In Progress Page.

 Page Editing: I understand there are better editors than Word 97; FRONT PAGE may be one of them. Publisher '97 is said to be another, and I intend to try it. I also know that there's no real substitute for learning HTML and doing it all oneself, but if I have to do that I probably will get nothing done at all. I am now looking at Symantec's Visual Page, but I have to say that so far Word from Office '97 has done very well. We have, since the SR-1 updatre release in 1998, converted to Office 97. SR-1 corrects a lot of bugs.

Anyway, I mostly use Word 97 for this. I used to use Web Express, but their 32-bit upgrade blows up with stack explosions in my big NT workstation. It may be the dual Pentium chips? They tell me it works find in Windows 95 and in all the NT stations they have. On the other hand, Princess, my Compaq Professional Workstation, isn't particularly complex, just fast and very useful. In any event, I had to give up Web Express. I also have HOT METAL PRO which is said to be great, and I intend to try it soon. DREAMWEAVER is said to be even better, and I believe it. Front Page is good stuff. There is no shortage of good web authoring tools... Notes attached.

 Schedule: I am currently working on THE BURNING CITY, a new Niven/Pournelle novel set in the world of 14,000 years ago, just after Atlantis sank and the magic was going away. This does not have the Warlock but takes place about the time of the Warlock. It's set in the New World at a time when Mastodons were in North America and used magic to make themselves look bigger than houses; carnivorous birds larger than ostriches terrorized people and animals alike; and unicorns and mer-people still existed. We have about 150,000 words done.

I am also working on Mamelukes, the fourth novel in the Janissaries series. I have about 20,000 words. It takes place about 15 years after the last Janissaries novel. There are new characters, and the Galactics have a different attitude about Tran. Finally, our publishers want Niven and me to do a big millennial disaster novel something along the lines of Mr. Heinlein's Year of the Jackpot only more so. We might call it The Wrath of God, or The Seven Seals. It seems that David Koresh wrote his exposition on the Book of Revelations not only on paper that was burned at Waco, but also on a floppy disk that survived, and he really had a gift, and... But first Burning City.

Finally, I'm still hard at work converting Mrs. Pournelle's reading program to Windows. I'm using Visual Basic 4, but once it's done I'll put it into Delphi, and also Visual Basic 5. Programming is fun but takes time, and that takes time away from playing here. It's a great life if you don't weaken...

To read the latest BYTE Articles and columns, visit the BYTE web site. Only of course you may have a problem since they killed BYTE and changed the site.

This is what I've been able to put up so far. Some of it duplicates the index you saw at the top. So it goes.


Pictures. This leads to another index. Be warned: there is one picture on the index itself. After that each link leads to a number of pictures. They're in jpeg, but don't call for them unless you're prepared for a fairly hefty download (although not as hefty as before I reorganized the index system). Eventually I may set it up so you can get them one at a time, but for now, you get them all, like it or not.


Space : A number of papers about space access. There was a Council Meeting in early August, and we'll have more space papers available. Meanwhile, wasn't the new NASA smaller, faster, cheaper mission to Mars wonderful!

Starswarm : First chapters of my newest novel. The book has just been released from Tor books.

Intro to Starswarm: An introduction or preface to the novel, written in June 1997. Reminiscing about how I became a science fiction writer, and how I came to write the novel. There is a longer Starswarm excerpt at:

Creating a Web Page : some notes on Web Page creation, and How I Did This.

The Chaos Manor User's List: This document is revised from time to time. List and brief discussion of stuff I use a lot and recommend. It won't be complete, but I will try to keep it current. Also be sure to see the Byte Columns, both printed and web exclusive. I hope one day to add my orchids and onions list as well.





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