In Praise of Stupid?

What do you call an organization that shoots itself in the foot with a thermonuclear device?

Adobe.

How did they do this?

By discontinuing the Abode Acrobat Reader for Linux.

Yes, Linux is a small part of the total market. Maybe only as much as 0.5. But it is the growing part. Apple is essentially static; MegaHard is shrinking. 

No one debates the value of the PDF. But Adobe has now surrendered control of the PDF to the FOSS community, specifically the folks who write the Linux clients that read and write PDF. By removing their support to Linux of their vision of the file format they force Linux users to use other clients that create and read and manipulate the files. 

And if the few, the increasingly few, who use other OS don’t comply with what the FOSS community does, the universality of the PDF is gone. And the people who use PDF can’t afford that. 

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi. 

Order beyond Comprehension

Nothing is more alien to the mind of the military monk than change.

The quote is from J. F. C. Fuller who has the distinction of having more periods in his name than I. Among other things. But a companion to this is: nothing is more irritating to the military mind than a form of order they can neither understand nor control.

This weekend I came across this cartoon: [Link]

 

and I was immediately precipitated into consideration of my years of dealing with the Yankee army’s policy of “clean desk”. First of all, the name is completely inaccurate. No, not the desk part. We had desks, nice steel ones painted olive drab (O.D.) green, when I first went to work for the YA. Rather, it is the ‘clean’ part that is horribly, in all the depths of that word, inaccurate.

The opposite of clean is dirty and I have seldom had dirt on my desk and when I have it is either immediately removed or kept in a proper storage container. In some, many, instances it was actually soil but that is another distinction only understood by the most sentient of infantrymen. So for a time fraction greater than the floatability of Ivory Soap my dest was not dirty and hence within the modal usage of American English, ‘clean’.

Not so. The proper term for the policy would be messy desk and the nature of messy is almost uniquely military. 

In the same vein, the opposite of messy can be taken to be orderly or ordered. My desk is always highly ordered. But from continual experience I know that that ordering is not always apparent to other people, especially FD SCP. But it is NEVER apparent to the military mind. And therein lies the discontent.

I would be informed that my desk did not meet “clean desk’ policy. I would respond that it was neither dirty nor disordered. The only response would re reiteration. At that point, after a few years of nodding and then ignoring, I found a wonderful way to ‘nuke and pave’ the discussion.

I would ask why the minion of mindless organization was so insecure as to be unable to endure an ordering he (never she) could not comprehend? And the fireworks would begin.

No serving member of the military can admit to insecurity. It is alien to both the culture and the society. I have speculated that this is why disorders such as PTSD and Shell Shock and Funk are so much worse in the military. It is hard enough for nerds to confront insecurity, for military bogs it is, however, almost impossible. 

So they try to divert. Accusations of insubordination or mutiny are not uncommon. But if one stands one’s thesis and persists they will slink away. Until the next time. If one only brings the subject up in this solitary context. Somehow insecurity over the incomprehensible is barely, marginally, acceptable. But must not be spoken of openly. Or, at least, only by nerds who are necessary evils to preclude the destruction of the nation. 

So it’s quite a good cartoon. 

Marriage and Politics

Another morning of lowish temperature. Not as low as yesterday but low enough to provoke a search for heavier gym pants. The pair I had initially substituted for the summer ones were inadequate and being a shivering ORF I opted for more substance in the hope of lower thermal diffusion.

The podcast this morning was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas”, the third in their coverage of a rather strange conference – aren’t they all, it seems? – called Ideacity. The subject of this one was contemporary mating rituals. There were three and they were all varying degrees of Extro which indicates once more how biased society is these days. The first segment was an economics academic prattling on the economics of modern (?) marriage. Sex barter. It reinforced my observational hypothesis that economists and economics are whacked. The tenor was decidedly that women endure sex for the sake of something — anything? – else. 

I subscribe to Wrangham’s cooking model of marriage: men stay around for the cooked food. And sex is mutual beneficial, it provides the women with offspring and the men with gratification. Not only does it make more sense, agree with my observations better, but anthropologists, in my observation, are less whacked than economists. 

The second segment dealt with social media courtship. The proponent was some sort of business analyst who kept prattling about her excellence at maths at what I took to be about the level of high schule algebra. Definitely teleological and not at all scientific. But at least honest trial-and-error correction approach and as close as they came to any aspect of Intro. She also did a better job of exploring the external versus internal dimensions of courtship. 

The last segment was a man who sold himself. On the stock market, not the meat market. The stockholders voted on his courtship. And his wife-to-be bought him. Blatantly Extro. Revoltingly so, in fact. Nauseating. At least to Intros. 

But then I thought about the upcoming election and the politicians courting the electorate. And all three of these folks came off amazingly honest and above board. No blatant lies. Like saving jobs that are going to be eliminated by the economy anyway – and wasting taxpayer funds. And doing things touted as benefiting the voters which actually sicken them and shorten their lives. 

So even the Extro tummy wobbles are better? It seems so. And there is cooked food involved that is edible. Unlike politician fare. 

Another datum indicating I should be happy to be ORF.

Sleep and Such

Once more into the boundary of week out. The outer boundary. And another pseudo-shabbat. So we have to endure all manner of superstition and mysticism on the media but tomorrow will be mundane day and we may resume a modal trajectory. The temperature was not as low as threatened by the weather beavers but whether that was the usual, not-polar-vortex, weather or just being early. Sometimes the temperature continues to fall after Sol becomes visible due to increased wind. 

I did a bit different this week out. Finished a podcast episode of “The Linux Luddites” rather than the usual to provide both variation and incite cogitation. The noise was definitely more amenable. Less self-discussion of the nonsense and stupidity being uttered. But the learning material was quite different.  And the thought processes.

Noted an article [Link] that claims that seniors get adequate sleep but don’t feel it is enough. Hockitus non est! Been that way since I was in my fifties. And haven’t had a dozen good night sleep since heart attack. I am of the opinion it is about brain chemistry although the article says naught along that azimuth. So my discontent is unabated.

I was rather befuddled that the O’Bama would name a justicer as tsar of Ebola. I can see not laying the duty on a medicalist but why not a nicely fascist military guy? The kind who can order firing parties unblinkingly. If history teaches us anything it is that the rule of law functions negatively during epidemics. For the bogs, that means that being strictly legal during epidemics gets more people killed. Of course that may be the administration’s intent. They may think the country needs to lose a sizable fraction. And a lawyer can have all the nice paperwork drawn up to implement martial law and firing parties and all that, all nicely legal. And they can probably find military guys to do the dirty deeds and leave the tsar to bleed?

After all, the black plague was the womb of modern democracy, wasn’t it?

Fall Timing

Despite all my efforts to disrupt linear time progression the season seems to be changing. Not that I like summer but rather that I should like a bit more fall before winter makes me a slave of its vagaries. I went this morning to park and executed my constitution and found myself at the ragged edge of ‘cold’. Cold is, of course, a sensation and not a thermodynamic observable but that seems to have scant effect on bogs and even on SCP. I find that courtesy of the physicians, especially the cardiologist and his prescriptions of blood thinners, that I have no comfort range any more. 

Tomorrow is foretold to be a bit better, at least in terms of early temperatures if not daily maximum but sundae is foretold to be less warm than today through and through. I find it emotional to bundle up in a thick coat and coverings while the young bogs strut about in scant attire. Except for the women lacking skin dirt. They are at least amusing.

I heard last evening on so-called news program that the Yankee government weather service foretells that the ‘polar vortex’ should not be a problem this winter. Since it has already struck and the promise is from the YG, I invest negative confidence.

On the subject of negative confidence I had a negation of such this week. Wednesday, one of my desk boxes, running SolydK presented to me that it needed to do a version upgrade. Actually it warned me on mundane day, which was a nice courtesy, so I had two days of dreading. So at 0630 on Odin’s day, I engaged the updater, a piece of software that has not engendered much satisfaction, and hence trust, in me, gather my gear, and motored off to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill from Gab and Grab. I did so with an incipient plan to replace SolydK with Nexus when the upgrade failed and I was presented with a need to do a ‘Nuke and Pave’ install. 

I returned at 1130 to find the process till running and muttered under my breath about the joys of Oneonta Telephone Company’s DSL service. Finally at 1430 the process completed, I rebooted – from the command line as instructed – and got back an operating desk box! To say I was shocked would have only implied a lack of electrons. This was quite contrary to my previous experiences – three in number – with Canonical *buntu distributions – that have all resulted in catastrophic failures followed by a couple of days of return to modality.

A very pleasant surprise indeed. 

It also occurred to me while walking this morning why Liinux is superior to Winders – another reason, at least – Linux can read Windows files/partitions but not the opposite. Is this a hubris thing? Or just incompetence? The World Wonders.