Which Kind of Electrons?

The great stressor looms. Today is the last day of week out and then we enter the week of the worst stress of the year. Not good. And then winter sets in for real.

I feel old.

On which azimuth, my colleague Mass Momentum, posted this article [Link] on the FaceScroll. It is a fairly balanced (?) discussion of the grrr brrr about electronics versus pen/paper/books for note taking and learning. Its chief advantage to me was to offer some new perspectives on the problem. Happily these perspectives tend to support the hypothesis I have been developing for some months.

My concern is a bit larger than what is portrayed in these articles. My concern is about learning and composition. To me learning means not only what I get out of "books" – information sources – but also research, and composition includes note-taking but also report writing and the like.

We humans are visual folks. Comes of being hunter-gatherers for mega-years. We are not ASCII people. When we dream we don’t see written pages. All right, sometimes when I dream I do see written pages, or printed pages, but they are memories not mind constructed things. When we dream we mostly see images, maybe with sound and smell but definitely with images. This is the rationalization for video instruction.

The problem is that the computer/slab screen has too low resolution. That’s why the race to what is called a retina display. One to one mapping of screen pixel to eye sensor.

My hypothesis is that composition is all about mindfulness. That is, awareness. The opposite of this is called mindlessness – unawareness, if you will. I picked the names because I read a bunch of article about the benefits of mindfulness that screamed "STERCUS!" because it wasn’t balanced in terms of the down side of mindfulness and the benefits of mindlessness. There are some things that we cannot do if we are mindful of them but perform easily if we are mindless of them. This is patently obvious to most people so if you don’t get it, get assistance.

Anyway, the hypothesis is that for composition to work we have to be mindful of what we are writing (thinking) but mindless of the writing. Note that writing has two components here, one is the expression of the information of our thinking in ASCII (or diagrams or symbols…) and the other is the generation of a physical representation of the information – characters on paper, e.g. So we have to be mindful of the first but mindless of the second. Yes, I know that is simple but it’s still an hypothesis.

This reduces learning/note taking to two considerations:

  1. You can’t draw diagrams or maths with a keyboard; and
  2. You can’t be mindless of key presses.

Both of these are conditionals. The first is admittedly false but only for drawing programs unsuited for the ASCII component of note-taking. The second may be true for everyone but professional typists and/or GEN Ys. More work is needed on this. Film at Eleven.

Crazy in the Dark

Once more to the boundaries! Of week out that is. Air temperature markedly increased. Executed constitutional with only a light jacket and a glow-in-the-dark boonie hat. No, not a Daniel Boone fur hat, a jungle hat except it’s made of eye-burn-orange cloth that glows nastily in reflected illumination. That’s so I can be seen by any others, especially highly strung out young women with pepper spray. Or electron accumulator wands.

On the subject of crazy in the dark I ran across a few articles. First, an article about the maths knowledge/skills of biology graduates. [Link] The simple result is that they aren’t calculate. In fact, they’re something of order sub-high schule in such.Which isn’t a surprise to me since I have had to deal with biology acalculates for years. And yes, that is redundant. The distressing thing is they brag about it. Makes them almost as bad as bogs.

Almost.

Next, an article [Link] maundering about whether ‘digital’ magazines are dead? I find the adjective odious. The magazines are not themselves digital. A better designation would be eMagazine or some such but then one expects stercus from WIRED. What is worse is that the piece is an apology for eMagazines being slow. No wonder. Not many people want them. I don’t. I know that isn’t very sustainable but that’s it. Even though slablets satisfy Gullidge’s Manifesto that you be able to take the reading to the entropy cellar with you, I don’t find them utile. And I want something I can get back to and fundamentally, ePublishers come across as charlatans and carpetbaggers. And like everyone else I don;t want to pay for eContent.

I used to subscribe to WIRED. Found it has a pony to poo comprehension ration of less than 0.1. So I dropped the subscription. I still get them in the post. And put them in the recycling bin. Which is an improvement. Now WIRED is pretty direct that it isn’t looking to ORFs as its demographic. But its demographic, at least those among my colleagues, say it is eCrap. Or pCrap. Take your pick. So I have to wonder about the integrity of an eMagazine article by WIRED.

And lastly, an article [Link] proclaiming that the internet sleeps. Another WIRED article. Also fundamentally inaccurate. It turns out that what happens is that the internet gets disconnected – or deconnected? – during local sleep time. The humans turn off the physical equipment, the routers and boxes and such. To save money on electron potential difference flow.

What makes this interesting is other articles I have read about kids staying up all late hours to use the internet, No reconciliation. To be expected from WIRED?

I have been frustrated this week with the small screen. I now understand why GEN Ys spend all their time staring at their phones. It’s because the things have worse execution speed than an original IBM PC. Mine has turned blue with the different languages I have used to express my dissatisfaction with it. There really is a difference in screen size and speed. And the phones have neither.

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. 

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.

Modern Sadism

A moderate morning. Dihydrogen oxide fall is predicted for the whole week out, at least sporadically. I caught it on the last lap of my constitutional, Only moderately soaked. And it did reduce the heat in the atmosphere a bit.

Since it is week out I suppose I should do a bit of tab ‘hawgin’. So first off, the Boston Globe, courtesy of IO9, has discovered something that I have been commenting on since before the blog. [Link] That is, that we are producing too many irrelevant Ph. D.s. I shan’t review the horrible journalism but I will comment that it seems to epitomize the state of journalism in Amerika that it took them a generation to find what we have been talking about in the nerd community on the subject. And after something of order twenty-five years this is what they consider news?

Sadly, this is not a solitary event. last night I heard the chief news reader on national news program declare that the Texas Ebola patient had been released from that hospital emergency room. When did I first comment on this based on a web article? And this schmuck has the chutzpah to declare this to be BREAKING news? Is this stupidity, laziness, or corporate manipulation? Or a mixture?

While we’re on this azimuth, I ran across a Register article [Link] entitled “No one wants iOS 8 because it’s for NERDS – dev”. I was bemused and not minutely astounded. What is up with Apple? Last week I saw a bit on FaceScroll where they were quoted as saying that their users were too stupid to fix the ShellShock defect, and now they say that their users are too boggish to even want to update their OS? This confirms a lot of what I have always hypothesized about Apple slaves users but for the corporation to boast about their users’ incompetence so openly? Is this an anti-intellectual thing? Or is Apple successful only for its sadism? The latter makes more sense based on my own experiences with their hardware and software. Evidently where MegaHard is venial Apple is depraved.

On that note I am going to go out on the aft porch to sit and listen to the fall. Perhaps that will cheer me up.

Fashion or Function?

Across this cartoon: [Link]

I came. Which led me to a question I have been entertaining for a couple of months: why a smartwatch?

Minor complications: (1) everything a smart watch can do is done by your smone except it is uncomfortable to wear it on your wrist; (2) a smatch is in addition to a smone, not instead of; and (3) a smatch is as or more expensive than a GOOD watch. Pray note here that GOOD means my criteria and not those of a designer nor journalist nor pseudo-celebrity.

So far as I can tell, the only function of a smatch is to advise you when you need to extract your smone from your pocket. Assuming you carry your smone in a pocket.

I do not. I carry my smone in a holster on my belt. In winter it is hard to get to the phone because of jacketage and it is always hard to get to when in a motorcar because of the beltage. Hence if I am alone in vehicle I deposit the smone on the passenger seat, at least until it is projected onto the floor at the first under-prepared stop. 

The problem is the my watch is also covered by jacketage and I try not to look away from the roadway while motoring, especially in places like Huntsville where kamikaze and stupid are synonyms for drivers. 

Waiting is. 

Mouth Leather

Yesterday, one of my news subscriptions brought me this article [Link] entitled “FBI Director Comey Gives Apple and Google a Tongue-Lashing”. And I rolled out of my chair onto the floor laughing. Which I regret this morning because I am sore in places I would prefer not to be sore. 

I keep telling me that this fellow is a political appointee and political appointees and politicians are techno-schmucks. But this fellow now qualifies for being a real schmuck, if not a ferd, just by his so-called ‘tongue lashing’.

Let’s start in that order since it will be a bit clearer. The techno bit comes about because both OS phones have had encryption add-ins (apps) for some time. These are not built into the OS but since both OS are *NIX OS, adding on is rather simple and inherent. So the only distinction we can raise here is that the OS masters have added a capability that already existed as an add-on. This practice has a long history. It goes back to CPM and DOS and probably before that.

So bitching about ‘smartphone’ encryption is techno-stupid. But more important, since the capability has been around for some time, the esteem political appointee grand exalted kudzu of the FBI has demonstrated that he is a social stupid by chewing on folks for what has been established as acceptable. 

Privacy issue or no the sure result of this is that the nation’s, or at least the IT community’s, trust in the FBI has been serious eroded by this brazen display of incompetence. 

Chalk up another success for the antediluvian district!