Microsoft Word developer relaunches into space

Billionaire Microsoft Word developer Charles Simonyi’s civilian space trip nearly ended in tragedy yesterday when his Soyuz TMA-10 spacecraft unexpectedly crashed with an “Internal Error” shortly after takeoff.

Accustomed to frequent backups, Simonyi successfully relaunched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan after a clean reboot. The fifth civilian to rocket into space, Simonyi, 58, is expected to link up with the International Space Station sometime Monday night.


  1. 1

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    Curiously enough, when he attempts to use his external monitor, all he can see is a “bright, deep blue screen. . . .”

  2. 2

    Don Joe spews:

    Word doesn’t have an “internal error.” Word’s generic error message is, “There is insufficient memory or disk space…”

    And Simonyi hasn’t been a Word developer for more than two decades. In fact, there isn’t a single routine in Word that has Charles’ name on it. It’s customary for Word developers to mark pieces of code that they’ve written with a header comment that lists their e-mail address.

    And, Goldy, the answer to your next question is 669, but that’s for the Mac Word sources.

  3. 3

    Don Joe spews:

    Wait. That wasn’t correct. The full answer is 713. I’d missed some code in a few obscure sub-directories.

  4. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’m gonna hijack this thread! =8X {-this is a skull and crossbones with bunny ears

  5. 5

    Don Joe spews:

    But, you can use Word’s autocorrect to turn that into an Easter bunny. Or a space station.

  6. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Does Washington Need a “Homeless Hate Crime” Law?

    “Brutal attacks on homeless on upswing across country

    “The Associated Press

    “ORLANDO, Fla. — … A 2006 report by the National Coalition for the Homeless found 142 attacks last year against homeless people, 20 of which resulted in death — a 65 percent increase from 2005, when 86 were violently assaulted, including 13 homicides. By comparison, 60 such attacks were reported in 1999, the year the coalition — the only entity to gather such data — began to study the problem. And these numbers are likely low because they reflect only the most egregious attacks reported by victims themselves, in newspapers or by agencies that serve the homeless, according to Michael Stoops, acting executive director of the … coalition.

    ” … In its most recent study, the coalition documented attacks against the destitute in 62 communities last year alone, in 26 states. Since 1999, such violence has occurred in 44 states and Puerto Rico, and in 200 communities nationwide. … This pattern of violence, in Stoops’ view, hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves from the public or law enforcement. ‘Homeless people are the newest minority group in America that is “OK” to hate and hurt,’ he said. ‘It’s as though, somehow, they’re viewed as less deserving, less human than the rest of us.’

    Americans did pay attention to the story of 58-year-old Jacques Pierre, a homeless man … nearly killed … with baseball bats. That Jan. 12, 2006, ambush in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was filmed by a surveillance camera and broadcast worldwide. ‘For once,’ says Sean Cononie, who operates a homeless shelter in that seaside city, ‘Americans saw with their own eyes how kids hunt down and kill homeless people as though it were a sport.’

    “Such ‘sport’ has occurred elsewhere:

    • In Toms River, N.J., five high-school students were charged with beating a 50-year-old homeless man nearly to death with pipes and baseball bats — throwing hockey pucks at him for good measure — as he slept in the woods.

    • In Butte, Mont., a 53-year-old homeless man was killed at a Greyhound bus depot because he refused to give another man a cigarette ….

    • In Spokane, a one-legged, 50-year-old homeless man was set on fire in his wheelchair on a downtown street; he died of his burns. …

    • In Nashville, Tenn., a 32-year-old homeless woman sleeping on a boat ramp was shoved into the Cumberland River …. Two men, ages 21 and 22, were charged … in her drowning; authorities say the attack was unprovoked. …

    ” … In late March, a homeless day laborer was walking … through a neighborhood of Daytona Beach, Fla., when three boys on bicycles attacked him, striking him with a concrete block. …

    “Though for the past decade assaults on the homeless have dotted the U.S. map, Florida is the state where such attacks are most frequent by far, the coalition’s February report says. Last year, the coalition documented 48 attacks in Florida …. By comparison, 11 attacks were counted in California ….

    “While some investigators think the attacks are random, Sgt. Richard Ring, who investigated the murder of August Felix in Orlando last year, sees ‘a more deep-seated problem.’ As he puts it, ‘Our young people get prejudices from their parents in regard to homeless people. …’

    “Some local governments have adopted ordinances that restrict where and when the homeless can sleep, stroll, beg, eat, bathe or do laundry … reinforcing negative stereotypes of homelessness, which contributes to the violence, some advocates say.

    “Of late, there have been signs that lawmakers may be ready to crack down on those who assault the homeless without provocation — one being a recent push to categorize such attacks as hate crimes. Currently, gays, along with racial, ethnic and religious groups, are covered by various hate-crime laws around the country ….

    “Brian Levin, a criminologist and hate-crimes expert at Cal State San Bernardino, says attacks on homeless people ‘fit the category like a glove’ and should be punished as severely. Hate crimes, he says, bear similar hallmarks: stereotyped victims, offenders who act on latent prejudices, offenders who seek thrills or feel superior to their victims, and a mob mentality. ‘And on all these points,’ Levin says, ‘the attacks against the homeless are really indistinguishable from other hate crimes except for one difference — there are a heck of a lot more of them.’

    “Between 1999 and 2005, 82 people were killed in America because of their race, ethnicity, or religious or sexual orientation, according to the FBI, which has been collecting data on hate crimes since 1990. There were 169 homeless people murdered during that same period, the National Coalition for the Homeless says — a statistic Levin describes as ‘astounding.’ It has caught the attention of some lawmakers. Twenty-six members of Congress have asked the Government Accountability Office to determine whether attacks on the homeless should be classified as federal hate crimes. Meanwhile, homeless hate-crime bills are moving through the legislatures of six states: Maryland, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, Texas and Florida.”

    Quoted under Fair Use; for complete story and/or copyright info see

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Two facts in this story grabbed my attention: (1) Most extremely violent and utterly gratuitous attacks against homeless people are committed by kids and teens who get their prejudices from their parents; and (2) Washington is NOT on the list of states moving homeless hate-crime legislation. We ought to be, especially given that our state was the scene of one of the most vicious of these reported crimes: Burning a wheelchair-bound man to death for the hell of it.

    Now just whoooose kids do you think these perpetrators are? Which end of the political spectrum spews hatreds and prejudices against people different from them? If you answered “right wingers” you get a star! So whose kids are most likely to assimilate these prejudices, and go out on the streets and act them out? If you said “right wingers” you get another star! Finally, which end of the political spectrum advocates violence as a solution to nearly every social conflict and problem? If you said “right wingrs” you get another start! The youngsters who commit these horrific crimes obviously aren’t products of liberal upbringings in households where parents hold liberal values. They are a product of the prejudiced, hatemongering, violent, intolerance of the far right. Another reason why all wingnuts should be locked up in mental institutions for public safety.

  7. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “June 23, 2006, Spokane, WA

    “One legged, homeless veteran Douglas Dawson was lighted aflame by two delinquents this afternoon. Dawson had been sleeping near the campaign headquarters of Peter Goldmark, candidate for Congress from the Fifth District … because the previous evening he was given food, water, and blankets by Goldmark Campaign Manager Jeremiah Levine. …

    “Levine telephoned … homeless shelters and was unable to find Dawson a bed. At that point … Goldmark volunteer Dave Bilsland helped Dawson … to grassy area on the north side of the campaign office. Dawson slept there until this afternoon. Goldmark staff continued feeding him.

    “At approximately 12:30 this afternoon, volunteer Ed Meadows charged into the campaign office shouting that a man lying next to the building had been terribly burned, and that the lawn was aflame. One staffer called 911 while volunteers Bilsland and Meadows used a garden hose to put out the fire.

    “According to MSNBC, police have apprehended two young men who confessed to having set Dawson on fire.”

  8. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The fiery murder of Douglas Dawson in Spokane was hardly an isolated incident. What kind of sick bastards set a human being on fire? Happens all the time:

    “Boston, Massachusetts – March 6: Scott Capella, 30, woke to two men calling him a ‘homeless bum.’ He ignored them and drifted back to sleep, but the men returned. This time, Capella was awakened by a kick in the back. Capella stated, ‘I tried to sit up and I was grabbed by one and pushed to the ground … that’s when the other one threw gasoline on me.’ Capella suffered second-degree burns on his left leg below the knee and may need skin grafts. ‘I was screaming … I could feel my skin melting. … Oh, it hurt.’ … The suspects have not been caught but are believed to be males of approximately 30 years.

    “Pima County, Arizona – March 29: Daniel Lewis Purcell, 59, was charged with … arson after entering a vacant home and setting it on fire. ‘His reasoning was due to the fact that he and neighbors were tired of the transient drug users that were using the residence as a flop house.’ …

    “Deland, Florida – April 12: John Smith said that he was attacked by a group of ten teens in early April. His tent was doused with lighter fluid and set on fire … [and he was] attacked … with metal pipes ….

    “Manatee Co., Florida – October 3: Two teenagers harassed a group of homeless men [and … threatened to burn down their camp ….”

  9. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “A Season of Fire

    “Disabled people continue to experience violence across the nation. The most recent cases involve victims being set on fire.

    “Wednesday, July 12, 2006;

    “It is again Summer and Californians are holding their breath, hoping that it will be a cool Summer to avoid fires. Although it’s been cool here in California, a different type of fire has been spreading from the East to the West this Summer.

    ” … In June there were … cases … involving people with disabilities who were set on fire or had bleach poured on them … in Jacksonville, FL, Schenectady, NY, and Spokane, WA.

    “However, before June there have been other cases of people with disabilities being set on fire … on March 6th of this year a disabled homeless man in Boston was kicked and set ablaze, according WHDH TV of Boston, MA.

    “Newspaper reports identified the victims in the above Summer cases of 2006 as three men and one woman …. All had physical disabilities …. The March case in Boston and the recent case in Oregon both involved victims who were homeless. The … case in Florida was … in a home of a disabled woman who was forced to drink bleach and was then set on fire by her caregiver.

    ” … [T]he public has to realize that these crimes against people with disabilities are not isolated incidents, but the frame of a distributing picture of violence against people with disabilities from Coast to Coast.”

  10. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: It’s obvious what’s going on here. The hate rhetoric against the poor, disabled, and other disfavored groups (e.g., gays) by rightwing extremists is contributing to a permissive social environment in which thrill-seeking youths believe they can get away with acts of violence. These things don’t happen when people respect the rights of others. They do happen when so-called conservatives dominate public discourse with messages of intolerance, prejudice, and violence.

  11. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Our legislature should pass legislation making it a hate crime (with enhanced penalties) to attack homeless or disabled people.

  12. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Why MTR Would Flunk At U.W.

    “By Jerry Large
    “Seattle Times staff columnist

    ” … A couple of weeks ago, the University of Washington decided to have its next class of freshmen read a book of essays about global warming. A committee chose ‘Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change,’ by Elizabeth Kolbert, a reporter for The New Yorker.

    “The choice was influenced by an international report issued in February in which scientists said without reservation that global warming is happening and that human activity is likely the cause of much of it. …

    “UW’s incoming freshmen will have to deal with the results of global warming for all of their adult lives. It makes sense to have them start thinking about it now.

    “This is the second time the university has had its freshman class read the same book … the UW is choosing books that will help shape the educational experience of these young people. That in turn will affect what they do when their education is done. We will leave them with a lot of problems to fix. …”

    Quoted under Fair Use; for complete article and/or copyright info see

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: If you don’t complete the required frosh reading assignment, you don’t pass. If you can’t comprehend the reading assignment, you don’t pass. If you spew bullshit in class, you don’t pass …

  13. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I can readily visualize Redneck signing up for Home Ec to meet girls, and flunking that too.

  14. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Redneck lost interest in girls after he fell in love with his “invisible hand.”

  15. 16

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Told ya I was gonna hijack this thread! If you don’t like it, go fuck yourself and pet your armadillo.

  16. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “Paving the way for smarter roads

    “Decaying roads, rising traffic congestion, and voters distrustful of government and extraordinarily leery about increased gas taxes. What are political leaders to do?

    “The ‘hot’ new idea is ‘monetizing’ toll roads and bridges — leasing them to a private operator in return for a big upfront payment or guaranteed year-by-year payback. …

    “[But] … the voters are turning highly suspicious. Take the case of Indiana’s [Gov.] Daniels. He’s been obliged to abandon his … campaign for … a … $1.5 billion, 75-mile roadway … south and east of Indianapolis. …

    ” … [C]an we do better in this century than a patchwork of road funding and repair fixes? Robin Chase, CEO of Massachusetts-basedMeadow Networks, advocates … abandoning all gas taxes and shifting to wireless technology. A small, low-cost computer on board every vehicle would report … miles actually traveled, allowing a realistic government user charge. …

    “Why not a smarter leap forward than the mishmash of taxes, grants, and mortgaging our roadway futures to [investors in] Wall Street, Australia and Spain?”

    Quoted under Fair Use; for complete article and/or copyright info see

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: We don’t need smarter road, we need smarter highway bureaucrats! If Indiana can build a 75-mile-long freeway for $1.5 billion, why does WSDOT need $4.4 billion to build a 7600-foot-long pontoon bridge? Why does a floating bridge in Seattle cost 153 times as much per lineal foot as a freeway in Indiana? It’s not made of titanium! The pontoons are nothing but square boxes made of CONCRETE AND REBAR for chrissake! I suspect either WSDOT is terribly inefficient or we’re getting ripped off.

  17. 21

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The comments about eliminating gas taxes and charging motorists a “user fee” based on miles driven (and other factors) using wireless technology is interesting, too.

    You see, WSDOT needs X dollars to build all the planned projects, but if fuel efficiency improves, people will drive the same (or more) miles while consuming less gas — and paying less gas taxes. And WSDOT will get X minus Y dollars, which isn’t enough. What I’m saying is, every time fuel consumption drops the legislature will have to raise the gas tax again to bring in enough money for roads.

  18. 22

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    State Treasurer Demands I-90 Tolls


    “OLYMPIA — State Treasurer Michael Murphy rejects the finance plan for the proposed rebuilding of the Evergreen Point Bridge and won’t bankroll the project unless lawmakers levy tolls on the Interstate 90 crossing as well as the new bridge.

    “Murphy said … he won’t sell bonds for the project without the additional tolling because the … financing falls billions of dollars short even with $1.2 billion of anticipated revenue from … the Evergreen Point Bridge. … The project can’t be built … unless he authorizes bonds.

    “‘I will not authorize the debt to be issued for a project that can’t pay for itself,’ Murphy said. ‘In order for the thing to work, both bridges — period — need to be tolled ….’

    “According to a report that Murphy coordinated for the state Department of Transportation, the state’s 520 finance plan falls far short of the revenue required to pay for the project. …

    “Murphy said it’s time for lawmakers to face reality. ‘Now … decisions have to be made,’ he said. … ‘[T]he reality check is this: … how are you paying for it? … The only way to finance (the $4.4 billion project) is with revenue streams that are sufficient to pay … the … bonds. And as the treasurer of the state, I have to certify … that … the numbers work. If they come up with a plan that is … short, I will not issue the bonds.’ …

    “House Transportation Committee Chairwoman Judy Clibborn, D- Mercer Island, said tolling both Lake Washington bridges was an option still under consideration … ‘but we are not ready to make those kinds of decisions now …. You don’t decide to toll until you decide how much you need to make up.’ …

    “Critics of the state’s plan said they are frustrated that it has taken so long for state leaders to wake up to the fact that the six-lane 520 bridge and freeway improvements on both sides of the water are unaffordable. ‘People are in denial,’ said Chris Leman of the No Expansion of 520 Citizens Coalition. ‘It’s been clear all along … the financing plan for 520 was on shakier ground than financing the viaduct.’ Leman’s group advocates rebuilding 520 with a wider four-lane bridge, which the state could afford and that would have less effect on the neighborhoods.

    “Leman said in reports, hearings and other discussions that ‘they are literally $2 billion short for either of the two main alternatives.’ The Legislature is simply not facing what the numbers say loud and clear, he said. ‘There’s all these assumptions that they are making to make it seem to pencil out, but their assumptions are totally unrealistic,’ Leman said.

    “He said there could be political calculations that went into the decision to create a finance plan that does not call for I-90 tolling, namely the upcoming November vote on taxes for the $16 billion regional transit and roads plan, commonly referred to as RTID. ‘If the public were told a six-lane alternative absolutely requires us to toll I-90, at quite high levels, that would probably kill the RTID vote,’ he said.

    “Murphy said replacing the bridge is a public-safety imperative, and a six-lane bridge is the only way to accommodate the increasing transportation needs of the region. …”

    Quoted under Fair Use; for complete story and/or copyright info see

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Previous news stories have indicated the Lake Washington bridge tolls may be as high as $10. That would fundamentally alter living and employment patterns in the greater Seattle area, because wage earners — who are already facing stagnant wages, high gas prices, and runaway inflation in housing, groceries, and medical care — simply can’t and won’t spend $200 a month on top of their existing work expenses to cross the lake to get to jobs.

    A $10 toll on both bridges will balkanize King County. It will accomplish what superheated rightwing rhetoric could not achieve: It would split King County into two separate counties, with a financial wall between them that might as well be made of concrete and be 50 feet tall. It will wall off Seattle and the eastside communities as effectively as that barrier between Israel and the West Bank.

  19. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Gen-Xer Solves Social Security – Medicare Crisis!

    “Cassandra Devine knows how to solve the coming ‘entitlements’ crisis … when the 77 million baby boomers begin hitting 65 in 2011: pay retirees to commit suicide, a program she calls ‘transitioning.’

    “Volunteers could receive a lavish vacation beforehand (‘a farewell honeymoon’), courtesy of the government, and their heirs would be spared the estate tax. If only 20 percent of boomers select suicide before the age of 70, she says, ‘Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid will be solvent. End of crisis.'”

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: If it doesn’t work, there’s always nuclear war to fall back on.

  20. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “Iran’s vice president says the country has begun ‘industrial scale’ production of enriched uranium, the fuel required for nuclear reactors.” — Associated Press

  21. 29

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    Fortunately Simonyi’s launch was successfull, and he termed it a “Good Thing”. TM

  22. 30

    Libertarian spews:


    Are you caring for an invalid? I was curious because of the times you write many of your posts occur at hours when most of us are asleep. I’m thinking you have someone in your home who you take care of on a 24/7 basis, and that would explain you being up and at your computer (while you keep an eye on your charge) and making post on this blog.

    Is that the case, Roger?

  23. 33

    sunn spews:

    Who the hell is that ex-weather girl Susan Hutcfrom Seattle? She seems so inappropriate to be a spokesperson for Charles Simonyi. Why wouldn’t he have a scientist or someone better qualified to speak on his behalf? Watch out Susan, I think Willard Scott is coming after your job! Susan go back to weather, it suits you so much better