Three degrees. That’s what kept me from walking in the park this morning. Three degF. Sometimes I think I am entirely too much of a rule follower, especially with respect to my cardiologist.
On which note, I recently ran across an article [Link] entitled “When Friends Tell Friends to Use Linux”, which we may primarily translate as when we try to tell Winders users to get freedom. I have learned not to have the discussion with Apple users because its a waste of time. And frustrating. I have also learned not to expect anything from the Winders users except rejection, whining, and abject terror. At least 0.9 of the instances. So Sturgeon’s Rule applies.
I read an article a few weeks ago – don’t have the citation – written by an European who lamented how Amerikans were cognitively lazy when it came to computers. Again, I think Sturgeon’s Rule applies, as does Bose-Einstein condensation. Something like 0.1 of Amerikans use Linux and/or putter with Raspberry Pi or Ardunio or even real electronics and/or make stuff and/or ….. and 0.9 are MegaHard serfs or Apple mind slaves. And they tend to clump together. So the serfs and slaves are out-group of the Linux/rPi/Ardunio/Maker/… folks and visa versa.
Some of it is corporation servitude. They use Winders or Apple OS at work and have to cling to it at home. And the ones who do stuff: want to write Python code; or play with rPi; work ten times as hard to do so with Winders or Apple OS. One of my colleagues, otherwise a quite rational and striving nerd, spoke at great length about how hard and long he had to work to get where he he write Python code on his Winders box. From experience I didn’t tell the short tale of open Synaptic and install Python (if not already) and an editor and go at it. Five minutes with coffee in the loop. His fox hunt took days and lots a baying and fence jumping.
Some of the obstacle is learning. For some reason bogs quit learning sometime between puberty and children. And the ones who do still learn don’t learn useful stuff, creative stuff. Just social stuff. Mostly. And for the geeks and nerds, new and mildly complicated are orthogonal in this respect. When I try to tell serfs (or slaves) how to install a Linux distro it’s no more complicated than a recipe for Sunday dinner but they look at the list, all of it alien to the modal Winders/Apple OS users, and bolt for the coffle closet.
So I have pretty well quit trying. In a way its like explaining physics. It’s about as simple and fundamental and basic as you can get but almost everyone, including other discipline nerds, think it too complicated and HARD and act like they’ve seen the attack rabbit. Even if I’ve offered them the holy nuclear hand grenade. So I let them be bumpkins. It’s an old Southron tradition and it took me a while to accommodate it. Still haven’t completely but I’m working at it.
Which is more than most are doing.
Incidentally, that accommodation is also orthogonal to most christianists. For them I have found that a spray bottle of skunk essence is an effective antidote.
Yuck. A mediocre night. Had to drip. Only up twice to check faucets and did manage to get to the gym this morning but the minimum temperature foretold by the weather beavers was considerably off. This winter has definitely damaged or destroyed what trust we had in the local weather beavers. Their temperature-time accuracy was worse than the NWS foretelling, which raises questions of why we sh0ould even bother with them at all?
And from that, why bother with the local news broadcast either? Most of the news is irrelevant and ridiculous, sob sister kitsch, or tardy spectator sports reporting that is a good time for a bowel movement or anything at all. In fact, a root canal might be preferable. So absent trustworthy weather prediction, what value local programming? Is this a sign that television stations are going the way of newspapers?
I have to admit to subscribing to the Arab Tribune, a biweekly, but not to the Huntsville Times. I gave up on the latter when it couldn’t find delivery people who were 0.5 accurate. Now they print fewer days per week than I used to actually get delivered. And considerably less news. So no loss.
Not that there is much news in the Arab tribune. Mostly advertisements and gossip. But the local governments – city and county- are internet blind and the only way to receive tyrannical announcements is via the newspaper. Not that I plan on continuing my subscription once the Tribune ceases paper publishing. For one thing, the internet is still not a legal announcement vector for government. And second, I don’t like reading news on line. At least not in newspaper format which is about all the publishers have imagination for. So I suspect in a few years local news will entirely disappear except for social networking sites and those are so transient and temperament/age dependent I see no way for adequate coverage. So the information age is fast going away. Too many pipes and not enough poo.
A lovely morning. Finally high enough temperature for me to go awalking in the park. And thereby an opportunity for outdoor thought, which, at least in the old Confederacy, is different from indoor thought, which we have altogether TOO much of these days.
I had occasion to consider all the grrr brrrr about Winders XP end-of-support. I chose that metaphor instead of end-of-service because one can still get good service out of WXP. Well, more than out of WV/W7/Wate.
All you have to do is unplug the wireless adapter and the CAT5 cable. Yes, disconnect from the network. If you do that the only way malware can get to your box is via physical media and the only way it can get out is via physical media. So in effect, you can use WXP in this mode with better security than ever before.
Being disconnected from MegaHard doesn’t hurt, of course.
You probably want to make a mirror image backup of the hard drive.
And you’ll still need a way to talk to the internet. Do that using a box running Linux or Chrome or even Android. And move stuff from one to the other using physical media. And yes, this is very DOSish, but we didn’t have much worry in those days about security.
And you can keep using your WXP clients to be productive, much more productive than before, and laugh at MegaHard for their colossal rectal painatude and vertical copulations.
Social media is all abuzz about the committment of Remington to bring a manufacturing facility to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill. The reactions are either resoundingly positive or resoundingly anti-gun. My reaction is suppressed laughter.
The laughter is at the humor of the situation, how a community founded on engineering excellence has degraded itself into rot and ruin. In days previous the Huntsville community, which styled itself the “Rocker City”, built rockets that took humans to Luna (and back!) and missiles whose probability of kill given a hit (Pk|h) was 0.8 or greater by design.
Now they are giving great effort and voi9ce to a company the manufactures weapons – firearms – whose Pk|h is in the range of 1E-03 to 1E-06. Way, three to six ORDERS FOF MAGNITUDE less lethal. And the Huntsville community is excited to have such ineffective weapons manufactured there?
Perhaps they should change their stylization to “Maiming Capital of Tellus” since that’s what firearms are good for. Their Pm|h is about 0.5 or so.
Another middling night, above the phase change temperature, and hence this morning to ablutions and the bicycle. Now back to the internet.
I am not sure there is much left. In its original form, the internet was supposed to be a means of communication and data exchange among creative STEMs. That, of course, is a minor positive in that there are other ways of doing the same. Admittedly there is a convenience to email and file transfers that makes that minor positive rock solid.
Sadly however, the internet has been corrupted with so many unSTEM, uncreative people that it is almost impossible to move STEM data about any more, so that minor positive has been largely eroded by kitsch and gibble. I suppose that if one evicted all those parasites then the utility of the internet could be restored but I suspect that is an idealistic pipe dream that sublimates in the fierce glare of actuality and irreversible social thermodynamics.
In that illumination, it is clear that the internet lacks any real value. Sadly, it will not dissolve away but continue as the money leech of capitalist oligarchs and those who would destroy the species for a profit, the kind of people Stalin talked about who sold rope. And in this context the efforts of FOSS and EFF and such like are nothing more than speed bumps on the road to extinction. But it is notable that lemmings to not discorporate in place but run great distances before plunging.
I didn’t watch the superbowl, nor am I watching the olympics – vicarious athletics is not my thing; I find them neither entertaining nor educations and hence unworthy of my time and attention span. So I missed the Radio Shack commercials on their reorganization. But I have read about it on-line. And frankly I am bemused.
The dying of Radio Shack is not new. Radio Shack is essentially a child of the great hobby time of the ’50′s and ’60′s. Despite a few Lafayette and Allied stores, who mostly sold kits, Radio Shack was the electronic hobby store, an offshoot of Tandy’s leather working hobby store. It was the place an amateur or small scale professional electronics person, mostly not educated electronics engineers or technicians, went to get parts and the occasional assembly. Except for soldering irons and hand tools they were not a tool store but when you were building an amplifier or a controller of some sort they were the place to go when you suddenly realized that your design was wrong and you needed a major change in componentry.
At this point it should be pretty evident that what made Radio Shack successful was its effective uniqueness. So long as society in Amerika was hobbyist, at least in the hinterland, and there was no competition, Radio Shack was a success. In a sense they were an ideal Amerikan store since most of what they stocked had their name on it and that was the only place you could get it. And the only distance buying was through a store, for something available but not locally stocked.
Sadly the electronics hobbyist thing stuttered. The first strong sign, the first nail in Radio Shack’s coffin, was the transistor radio. That was the first thing wanted by lots of folks that was cheaper to buy built than as a kit or project. By the time that the digital computer became a manufactured thing, and Radio Shack did away with their named line of computers, the lid was hammered down strong. Radio Shack no longer had uniqueness, except for aging electronics hobbyists.
Now, Radio Shack is one among many of electronics retailers who are absent loyalty. Since they no longer warrant the goods they sell – the manufacturer does that – the only loyalty is to the lowest local price. And with the internet and UPS, local is national. At least.
So Radio Shack isn’t going to get well. At least not unless it becomes unique again, and does so where it has no effective competition, and there is no sign that their management knows this or can make it happen.
A moderate night. Below the phase change temperature but barely. And I did my tim on the stationary bicycle so I can now proceed with the day.
The road to “civilization” began with the desire for more gear (goods) and has evolved to the search for entertainment (diversion.) Somehow it seems rather a let down, but that is what the majority of humanity does, spend the bulk of its time being divorced from life.
And that, in large part is what the internet has come to be. It started with sharing “funny” things, like labeled cat photographs and has developed where there are serious political debates over whether preference should be given to the transport of entertainment files over the internet. So much for DARPA’s dream. Not that DARPA is very good at either dreaming or taking action on their dreams. They are more in the nature of the mathematician in the burning hotel room.
But the question is whether the entertainment on the internet, which apparently is at least half of it, has value? Is there value in diverting those who lack any form of creativity or will power from creating mischief? Perhaps. Is there value in preventing those who have creativity but inadequate will power from exercising their creativity? Only negative. Is it possible for entertainment to itself have value? Probably not, at least based on observation and history.
So we have a situation where entertainment on the internet has a value somewhere between zero and assuredly negative. In other words, maths words, non-positive.
This is beginning to get discouraging. Is my lantern too dim? Or are there really no honest men?
Not a very fun night. Got moderately unwarm. The weather beavers once more overestimated the minimum temperature. They have a long way to go in rebuilding trust. A VERY long way. And apparently no effort in that direction.
The brrrrrrrrrrrrr gave me occasion to contemplate the value of the internet some more. From its beginning – once it got out of the direct control of the Yankee government – it has engaged in commerce. In fact, even accessing it is a matter of commerce. So the question must be addressed: is internet commerce beneficial?
Note that this is not an efficiency question, nor it is a cost question. Efficiency in the marketplace has always been a question relevant to suppliers not demanders. Customers are never efficient, only gullible. And any savings enjoyed – apparently – by customers is irrelevant since only profit is a meaningful metric.
On this basis it is very hard to make a telling argument that internet commerce has social value. There were marketplace transport arcs and market nodes prior to the internet. If the internet were to go away these or equivalent arcs and nodes would reappear. So the transport aspects of the internet are not relevant to the question.
Except, from the standpoint of centralization. In much the same way as MalWart, excessive centralization is a negative. It depletes communities of their survivability by destroying their local economies and it makes them fragile when disaster occurs by removing local concentrations of goods and services. So in this sense, the internet is an overall negative. At least from a commerce standpoint.
We do have to consider whether the diversity of goods offered on the internet is a good. This is a bit denser. Unless the thing offered is a survival thing, the diversity is irrelevant. And we have to argue that if that survival thing had not been available in the local marketplace pre-internet, then those who needed it would have found a conventional source or lived elsewhere. But since it is now available on the internet, it adds to the increased fragility of the local environment and hence is actually a negative.
In summary, the internet of goods is a negative value. So our search has to proceed.
Is the Internet worth while? That may seem a ridiculous question given what all happens on the Internet, but the question is really about effectiveness and productivity.
At gym this morning, happily sparse and surprisingly warm for so unwarm a morning, I listened to a Linux Action Show podcast episode. This one had a segment on Canonical’s Ubuntu Edge cellular telephone. I have to admit to being more appalled than intrigued with the idea of a cellular telephone that would replace all my computers.
I have to admit to being rather negative on “smart” cellular telephones. The only merit I can attribute to them is that they are at least large enough that I am not having to move the phone constantly while having a cellular conversation so I can hear what my conversant is saying and then so the microphone can pick up what I am saying. Small may be wonderful but not for telephones; I need an instrument that reaches from ear to mouth.
Would I want an Ubuntu phone? Not right now. I don’t want an Apple phone and my Android is not too bad. It is hideously slow. My old IBM PC circa 1984 CE was faster. In fact it is arguably the second or third best computer I ever had. It was well made and its only negatives were no hard drive and too few pixels. The one after it, a Wyse AT was easily the best I ever had. The build quality was almost as good as IBM’s, it had a hard drive and a few more pixels. And I could get great things done on it.
Partly because it didn’t connect to anything. Except a printer.
As a computer, my “smart” cellular is about as useful as my Radio Shack mini color computer. Maybe less. The color computer certainly was faster and the programs, which I had to write myself, were faster. And the only thing it connected to was a television and a cassette tape machine.
Yes, my “smart” cellular lets me check simple emails, and my calendar, and lots of other things that depend on wifi access and a lot of patience. And it wastes a lot of my time, and aside from the telephone part itself and maybe the calendar, it doesn’t contribute to my getting stuff done. And the helter skelter nature of Android updating assures that every time I turn it on I have to waste time updating. And then I get to recharge. So the availability factor of the thing as a computer is around 0.5.
The weather beavers are making noise again. Another spate of inadequate heat looms.
Meanwhile the gym was relatively quiet with only a few obnoxious weight bouncers – yes, Qadgop, there are weight bouncers who are not obnoxious – and no educationalists this morning. The podcast episodes – science, as usual for Two Day – were unremarkable. This seems to be a reflection of the post-holiday season blahs. And there was rain as well. Not that I dislike winter rain. So long as it is raining there is adequate heat.
Speaking of adequate heat, one of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, forwarded me a link [Link] about how some English computer security organization judged Ubuntu 12.04 a more secure OS than Winders nor AppleOS. Also than Android but then wet tissue paper on a comb is more secure than Android.
Canonical reacted in their usual whiney fashion of saying the assessment wasn’t good enough. Does the jerkness completely pervade the organization and is just concentrated in Shuttleworth? I note with some satisfaction that it was the LTS that got the nod and not the latest slabOS watered poorly as a boxOS that snagged the recognition. But I don’t expect that distinction to cross Canonical’s ego barrier.
In this day, with all the nonsense of credit hacking and the death of passwords and AV, it is heartening to know that there is something that offers some modicum of security. Even if the vast majority of humanity lacks the neuron excitation to avail themselves of it Of course there is a certain advantage to living amidst a general population of easy kills. Predators tend to seek them out first.