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!

Apple Fritters

This morning, while crusin’ FaceScroll, I ran across this:

I have to admit that I was rather taken aback by a company announcing that their customers are not smart enough to worry about security. Or how to use their computers. 

But then I took a breath and thought about the Apple users I know. Most of them are smart, but not in computer ways. That is, they have appliance smarts but not tool smarts. And they are entirely too comfortable with the Apple slavery thing. So that at least explains why Apple can say these things and not lose big fractions of its customer base. They know they are slaves and are happy with it. Except maybe for plastic phones? 

But are they really too stupid to use the OS are they just oblivious. The latter I think. 

No Area under the Integral

Back to regularity? This week has been the pits, mostly because I had to go to Huntsville on two day for a gum cleaning. Happily that went well with no new unhappiness. So I did the food acquisition while I was there and cancelled the usual Woden’s day gallop. Which I sorely missed, both in terms of networking and activity. So yesterday was a real DRAG. Higher order, maybe velocity magnitude to the third power or so. But this morning was back to usual.

I won’t say normal because I don’t like the way too many misuse the word. My dictionary tells me that the definition of normal is:

   1. According to an established norm, rule, or principle; conformed to a type, standard, or regular form; performing the proper functions; not abnormal; regular; natural; analogical.

But my problem is that no one seems to know what that established norm/rule/principle is. Nor can they show me in wirting. So the viable hypothesis, while admitting we can’t prove a negative, is that the norm/rule/principle doesn’t exist and this usage of normal is one of those social delusions.

To me normal either means the normal, that is perpendicular, to a surface or curve, or a function that is normalizable, that is, has finite area. There: simple testable rule/principle. And norm only makes sense in those terms. 

On which azimuth, I ran across an article [Link] on the “Convergence” of the Linux desktop. I read this article because my outlook on the Linux “Desktop” is rather normal to convergent, in the orthogonal sense, that is. If I compare Gnome 3, Unity, KDE, XFCE, and LXDE, among others, I don’t see what I consider to be convergence. Turns out the use of the term is worse than that, rather misusing the term desktop, to include slabs as well as boxes. 

Stercus Tauri. And not very respectfully. I am not given to abiding ferds nicely. And this is very ferdish

First of all, I don’t like the association of desktop with computer device. What is on my screen is not a desktop. For one thing, it isn’t big enough (even with a 24 in screen) nor, and most importantly, it isn’t horizontal. My desktop is the top of my desk, it is horizontal and it is about five ft by three ft. And I put physical objects on it. None of that applies to my deskbox. Which is why I call it a deskbox. And because it is a bunch of boxes: CPU/RAM/HD box; screen box; key box; mouse box;….. Similar for a lapbox. And I have a ‘smart’ cellular telephone that is smart in the sense of unpleasant neural sensation. And I have recently purchase a tablet, which is not in the sense of oral medication, but is commonly used in the sense of a bit of rock with symbols incised. Which is another horrible metaphor but that’s what happens when we let bogs name things.

Not that geeks – especially – or nerds are really any better, just different. And we nerds at least declare – strongly – when we are going to name things ridiculously. 

But this “Convergence” thing is evidently the idea that we are going to use the same OS and GUI on all of I visual information presentation devices. That is, boxes and slabs. And maybe the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver? And that idea is rot. As I have been saying for quite a while. So reading an article that says this is important to Linux is essentially impossible because the thesis is so flawed as to be unsuspendable. So the article is bad fiction. 

I do not make phone calls on my boxes. I do spreadsheets on my boxes. I do calculator on my phone slab. I do word processing on my boxes. I don’t on my phone slab. Simply put I don;t do the same things on slabs as I do on boxes. And visa versa. About the only thing I do on all of them is check email and maybe use a browser. Bog things.

But I use different email clients on the boxes and slabs. Because I can’t use Thunderbird on my slabs. And since I have bought a tablet I have found that the email client I use on my phone won’t work on my tablet. That doesn’t mean it won’t execute; that means it won’t work. It’s a thermodynamic thing. Like a free expansion. The code/app/client runs but no work gets done. But I have found that an email app that didn’t work on the phone does work on the tablet. 

Another bit of data that indicates – consistently – that the different visual presentations are not the same and that “Convergence” is a bunch of corporate propaganda. And the corporate bull has been fed too much stool softner. 

Selah.