Kraken day again. And the coolness of yesterday – a thankful change – is abating. But with week out intruding it has become time to begin to clean out tabs and emit a potpourri of blog flatulence.
As I was frequenting a computer information web site the other day – figuring out how to mount hard drive #2 during boot – I came across an article on the forthcoming Windows 8. [Link] Now I don’t pay a lot of attention to Windows any more, mostly dealing with FD SCP’s machines – she has to use Windows because of her sewing engagement but that software is still wedded to WXP and V. I did have to upgrade her to W7 on her latest desk box, more because the refurb I had back stocked for her when I deployed her previous came with W7 installed and I was being sorta lazy. Anyway, since all she does on her desk box is the usual email/browsing/notes/spreadsheets stuff and some data management for the sewing, and the latter are mostly third party clients not coded in Sweden by the sewing machine manufacturer and hence more widely compatible, generally no problem other than the general frustration of W.
Since Mozilla has moved to a rolling update cycle and their products – FireFox and ThunderBird in my case – don’t work right most of the time because the add-ins I use are fractured if not decomposed I have been having nightmares about FD SCP’s sewing software. This software is in the same anal retentive category as CAD clients and some proprietary database systems in that it has a dongle. So I am not permitted, by grace of righteous paranoia, from trying to get that software running in WINE or in a virtual machine running W of some flavor so that I could do maintenance more easily. But because the software costs more than the machine, even with W included, I don’t get to play with it. So I have to try to do maintenance on her W machines without whacking her sewing clients which themselves are whacking W so that we have to go through major commotion every six months or so of disinstalling the sewing clients so I can reinstall W and then she can reinstall the sewing clients.
Anyway, the article – yes, back to that! – indicates that W8 will have the same whacked tiling metaphor that Unity and G3 have. I think it can be turned off, which is more than G3 and Unity do, but that isn’t stated very explicitly. Now I have to admit that this tiling stercus may work acceptable on cellular telephones and bog tablets but on a work box? Or is work no longer the reason we use a computer. Have they become merely appliances of entertainment? Have we evolved beyond the keyboard and mouse?
I realize that it will likely be some time before the sewing machine coders get near W8, unless they decide to skip W7. After all, the folks who do computer sewing are not IT wonks. But I do fear that when this tiling nonsense finally hits FD SCP’s sewing machines she is either going to take it in stride (which will be a surprising outcome) or comes to pieces and I have to be the glue gun (the likely outcome) and I have already rejected this tiling for as long as I can get away with. In fact, I am busy now setting up a machine with Mint on it. Just so I can keep G2. And I have my experimental box running XFCE, which is not as good but may devolve to my option.
But Windows serfs don;t have those choices. Not that I think MegaHard will cut off their senior base wen they are slipping in market share so many places. But the lemmings are definitely loose in the IT world.
On the subject of tablets, I also ran across an article [Link] purporting to poll on whether tablet android is a success or failure. This also struck me as some editor needing filler and wanting to snag unwary bogs. Let’s see, android tablets are now what, 0.2 of market share? Assuming that cumulative sales are a meaningful representation of that quantity, which is a bit doubtful, and the (free) android app marketplace is something like 5 times as large as Apple’s for its iPud? And since HP committed seppuku with its tablet isn;t android all that stands between Apple and the total collapse of free civilization? Isn’t just asking the question a bit heretical – ‘those who watch over Israel’ – in its formulation? Or is it that the editors of this particular rag are closet fruitphiles?
And no, I haven’t really bought a tablet since I haven’t really gotten a meaningful list of what I am going to do with it, especially since I found out the clients stutter once one gets out into the bandwidth desert that is the Amerikan hinterland, but its on my maybe-gonna list. Right after the price for capability gets below my sicker shock level.
The whackedness of this particular eRag is further demonstrated by an contemporaneous article [Link] entitled “Five future technologies I can’t wait for”. The problem is that these are all current technologies that are in some stage of a manufacturing and deployment process. So either the folks who do these articles don’t know what a technology is, which would not be surprising given the advice of James Burke, or they don’t understand deployment, which would also not be surprising of pseudo-geek journalists (or politicians), or they are just flat out prevaricating. I leave the selection as an exercise to the reader.
Lastly, there is an article [Link] from Inside Higher Education (that’s a warning!) from an academic entitled “When do you stop being cool?” Leaving aside the obligatory physicist whine about what cool is, which falls into the same stupidity category as fraction slower, we can accept that cool is a social concept that transcends real measurement.
The thesis is that at some point in the aging process, one ceases to be ‘cool’. Speaking as a physicist, introvert, and nerd, who tries very hard to practice Feinman’s dictum of not caring what anyone else thinks, I have only alienated exterior interest in coolness and its perception by others, especially bogs who are likely asentient to begin with. Besides, physicists are, manifestly, over-the-hill by 30 so the perception of cool by others is highly unlikely since we have been hidden away doing great deeds for the decade prior.
However, given that the author is a luvvie in discipline and most of her students are bogs – except for the occasional nerd entrapped by the elective requirements of degree – one can understand concern for cool. After all, as an educator – as opposed to an educationalist – one has to be concerned with engaging the attention and interest of students and that does require a certain degree of cool. Happily in physics, the subject itself is cool, and anyone who doesn’t think so needs to drop or be satisfied with a ‘D’ or ‘F’. But things aren’t that way on the luvvie side of campus. (And they are increasingly not that way on the nerd side, much to our detriment and the destruction of our civilization!)
The question I like to pose to folks who bring up things like this are a choice question: would you rather stay as you are or be young again but know what you know and have to start over in society at an age appropriate place? Those with smarts and intelligence always opt for retention of sameness. Besides, it is possible to retain cool – and exaggerated self-doubt.