More Junkmail from Bob!

Monday, October 2, 2000
Important Stuff.

What's this?

If you're wondering where this email came from and how it ended up on your computer, you just might be a lucky new recipient to Junkmail. This is arguably better than being told, "You just might be a redneck." Once again, I copied a bunch of cc email addresses from my inbox into the Junklist. If you're new to Junkmail, you probably know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows me, and you got one of the same jokes I did. If you're wondering about the purpose of this email, don't fret. I'm wondering the same thing.


In last week's Junkmail I wrote about Ralph at the Isle of Man who accessed some accounts at Bank of Oklahoma and some other banks. I was apparently wrong -- he really didn't find any "live" accounts. According to Bank of Oklahoma he just found some test accounts, and they were tracking him as he was doing it. Here's their response to The Guardian's article.


Last week the U.S. Supreme Court decided they didn't want to hear the Microsoft case yet because Bill Gates is boring. This brings the case back to seven judges on the Court of Appeals, who will be a little easier on Microsoft than Judge Penfield. Bill Gates denied calling the U.S. Court of Appeals panel the "Seven Dwarves."

Microsoft wants to have 60 days to respond, then the government to have 60 days, and then Microsoft to have another 30 days to make their arguments. The lawyers involved said of the delaying tactics, "We need to stretch the case out to 5 months because there are just not enough billable hours in a day."

Meanwhile, Microsoft invested about $135 million in Corel today. Corel makes WordPerfect, Corel Draw, and Linux products. WordPerfect was the leading PC word processor until it was overtaken by Microsoft Word a few years ago. Bill Gates said, "Resistance is futile. Corel will be assimilated. But this is not monopolistic. We bought 24 million NON-VOTING shares." Those shares are convertible, however...

Windows Me?

Windows Millennium, a.k.a. Windows Me, is Microsoft's upgrade to Windows 98. Should you upgrade? Probably not, unless you're using Windows 3.1 in which case you'll need a new computer too.

I loaded Windows Millennium on a computer last week and noticed very little difference over Windows 98. The most prominent changes were that it now disconnects me from the internet at random times, it crashes more often, and some of the shortcut keys have been changed. I think I'll keep Windows 98 on my other computers until they fix some bugs.

Incidentally, if you use Windows 98 you can already go to the "Windows Update" web site and get a lot of the new features found in Windows Millennium, free.

Y2K Update

Yeah, we just can't get rid of it. Last fall, a law was passed limiting lawsuits for Y2K problems because people were afraid of a global computer meltdown. Legal groups claimed they were being cheated out of their well-deserved contingency fees and fought the unreasonable legislation.

Now, after the dust (or lack of it) has settled, the Y2K Act has been used a total of 12 times in federal court and 6 times in state courts. Not such a big deal after all, just like Y2K itself. Click for Details.


Layoffs at dot-coms are on the rise. People in New York are throwing "Pink Slip Parties" when they get laid off. 10-15% of the dot-coms who have laid off people in the past 10 months are now out of business. Click for Details.

Coronal Loops

Here is a good picture from the Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) spacecraft. This is an ultraviolet photo of some coronal loops from the sun's outer atmosphere.


These loops are around a quarter of a million miles high.

DES and Rijndael

Way back in the stone age, about the time I got into grad school, the U.S. government came up with a data encryption standard for computers, creatively called "Data Encryption Standard" or DES. I've also seen it called "Defense Encryption Standard."

Today they announced that the ancient DES will be replaced with the Rijndael encryption method as the standard in U.S. government encryption. Two people from Belgium, Joan and Vincent, came up with this algorithm. Here's how it works.

In 1997 there was a "request for comments" for a new encryption standard. Lots of algorithms were sent in. In August 1998, they were narrowed to 15 possible algorithms. About a year ago, they narrowed the field again to 5 finalists. Today Rijndael was announced as the new standard. It's supposed to be good enough for 30 more years of almost-unbreakable encryption, so it should last at least 10.

Here's where you can get your free copy, no royalties, including source code:


Here's our new airplane:


We're still looking for a test pilot. Here's my brother-in-law's new airplane:


Believe it or not, that's a Boeing 757. Here's a picture of Matt playing in it:


Picture of Today

Here's the best picture of today.


Don Farr sent it to me. It was taken on a digital camera on August 6 in the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana by John McColgan. He's from Alaska, but was working at the fire in Montana.

Other Pictures of Today

Mike and I went to Florida last week for some remedial TBM-700 training. We got to fly in the simulator, which makes it possible to do things that are too scary to try in a real plane. It's pretty realistic (except for a few minor bugs), even though it doesn't have motion.

Here's Mike in action:


Here's the front end of a PC12 simulator:


Here's one of the famous Florida man-eating spiders:


It was near this pond:

        Img_6059.jpg     Img_6063.jpg

And finally, a picture of a ball:


It's a Nexrad weather radar site. I drove buy it today and stopped for a picture. There were two government vans there, and I assume people were working inside. Here's what it's seeing. It's blank right now (Monday, 9:36 p.m.) so maybe they've got it turned off.

(q) 1977, no rights reserved under the Y2K Act of 1999. Any unauthorized copying, duplication, reproduction, or mass production of this fine literary masterpiece will be dealt with with a great deal of apathy.

If you are so warped that you'd like to see other Junkmails, or if you'd like to add a friend, neighbor, relative, or miscellaneous email address to the Junklist, go here:

If you would not like to read any more Junkmail, which would certainly be understandable, please change your email address, don't connect to the internet, or encrypt all email from me with 512-bit Rijndael encryption and lose the key.

Please send comments, questions, suggestions, and propositions to Please send complaints to