Back from Vacation

And, naturally, exhausted.

Well, a couple of points.

1) Thanks to those of you who sent in the second installment of $600.

2) There are two or three sets to go out: that didn’t happen this AM, but most likely tomorrow AM. They are packed and ready for a shipping label, so there’s no issue except to print a label or two.

3) Some of you have been kind enough to send in errata. I appreciate it, and plan to let you know the disposition of your comments. I can tell already that some of the errata are Jack’s unique spelling, and others, strange as they are, are what Jack wanted. If your errata has ever been seen by one of the VIE proofers, we have documentation on its disposition. On the other hand, there are several “catches” in there, and they will go into the fix. Standby for updates…


  1. wrycur said,

    July 13, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Ah…..I’m afraid you are violating the first principle of vacations, Bob, which is that you’re supposed to come back refreshed.

    We may not let you take future ones if this principle isn’t adhered to.

  2. TH said,

    July 13, 2010 at 9:29 am

    How big is the box inside the outer box? (I don’t have a car.)

    • rclacovara said,

      July 13, 2010 at 2:22 pm

      Um, the outer box is about 12″ by 12″ by 6″. The inner boxes are roughly 12″ by 2.5″ each. However, they are at right angles to each other, and glued in that position. I’d take a heavy shopping bag if you are going to take them out of the USPS shipping box and carry them by hand. Total weight of the box, with packaging, is 12 pounds, 1.5 oz. Sorry about the goofy “US Customary” units. The Brits don’t like us to call the darned things “English measure” but that’s what we call them here in the colonies. For what it is worth, although I am a just-right-of-Ghengis Khan sort of conservative, I heartily endorse the metric system, mostly because I’m an electrical engineer, and we’ve always been metric: there are no non-metric electrical units. But fundamentally, a temperature scale that starts at 0 for freezing and 100 for boiling is rational, where in the name of the Lord did Fahrenheit get freezing at 32 and boiling at 212? And inches? Well, in the machine shop, we designate drill bits in: decimal inches, fractional inches, or letter sizes… aw, c’mon… Sorry to whine.

  3. töff said,

    July 13, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    I embrace the standard system for its character, its asymmetry, its arbitrary colorfulness. The metric system, albeit more physically sensible and technologically practical, is a dull, predictable robot beside the quirky personality of the Imperial. (No, I will not revert from Arabic numerals to Roman numerals–not for day-to-day math, anyway. But that’s the same concept.)

    • rclacovara said,

      July 14, 2010 at 1:55 pm


      I grant that the Olde English Systeme has a certain amount of character. So does the old Japanese system, and many another. If “character” is a priority to you in choosing a system of measurement, then naturally, the metric system must come out low on the totem pole.

      That being said, an engineer is rarely interested in “character” in his system of measurements. In fact, what he wants is a system that is regular, predictable, rational: in short, dull. There are no atheists in foxholes, and there are no cries for the English system of measurements in the operating theatre, either. No one about to have their chest cavity opened wants to face two surgeons, one trained in one system and the other in another. Or medical plumbing in two systems. (“Hey, Jake, is this intravascular distringulatrix 1/4″ inside diameter or 8mm od? Hurry up, the guy’s turning white.”)Nope, nope: I like things to work, and to ensure that, sources of human error that can be reduced must be reduced. I state without support that the metric system is less error prone than the English system, but I have this level of perspective: I use both interchangeably, and can tell you that a millimeter is “about” 0.039 inches. I convert Angstroms to nanometers without a shudder, know a rod is 16 feet, and that a Japanese tatami is almost exactly 2 square yards. And that a foot-pound is energy, and a pound-foot is torque.) (Secret confession: I like knowing unit-of-measure trivia…)

      In any event, no one in their right mind would want to use Roman numerals. First off, there’s no zero, and worse still, try to multiply XVII by XLV. Yea. Forget long division…

      Sorry for the rant.

  4. Reader 7 said,

    July 21, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Hi Bob,

    Do you plan to issue an addendum and errata sheet at some point in order to clarify and provide corrections? Some publishers would provide that upon request if they had it– I’ve made such a request a time or two and gotten a positive response on it. I’m OK with either a yes or no response– I was just wondering about any plans.

    • rclacovara said,

      July 22, 2010 at 1:33 pm

      Hm, maybe. Hadn’t thought about it. But we might post it on the website…


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