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. 


Testing the Teaching

The gym was a bit obnoxious this morning. One particularly harassing weight bouncer. The kind with a tiny head. Which. led me to consider the the podcast, an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” that dealt with Alan Turing and the Turing Test. 

Turing is, of course, the poster child of the evil that is bog. But his test is supposed to be a metric of whether a computer is intelligent. Or not.

As I have said previously I am not a fan of computer science. I’m not sure you can make something up and then do science on it. Or I should say that applying the scientific method is actually science. Engineering maybe, or even philosophy, but science? But what Turing was doing is pretty well science. 

But after the harassment of the weight bouncer I got to thinking about the podcast which described applying Boyle’s method of observers to the Turing test and asked myself why they never talk about how many humans pass the test. After all, the test is supposed to be about a computer imitating a human so wouldn’t we expect humans to (almost) always pass the test?

And the more I thought about it the more that seemed like rot. Let’s consider the taxonomy of humans used here in this blog. Would a human think a nerd taking the Turing test to be human? Or visa versa? I am not sure. I know a lot of bogs I talk to can’t carry on a ‘human’ conversation, at least a nerd conversation. This goes back to what people say satisfying Sturgeon’s rule. And my bog friends tell me they can’t understand much of what I say, so does this mean that if one of the three types is testing one of the other two types will they pass the test?

And what about if we extend the matter to different taxonomies? How about Meyers-Briggs temperament types? Will an ESFJ assess an INTP to be human? 

I think before we giev too much credence to the Turing test we need to go back an validate that it actually tests “humanness”. 

Lost Hammer

Into the boundary once more. Survived the gallop to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill for a bit of staff call and pillaging of the grocery emporia. Returned safely just in time to monitor the evening “news” programming on the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver and was enlightened of a feud – with litigation – between the lord high mayor of Huntsville and the city’s foremost slum developer. And the argument is over ethical misconduct! Which is not only itself humorous but is intensified by the fact that a legal resolution is being sought. Gad!, makes the La Brea tar pits seem trivial in contrast.

Not uncomfortable this morning and the gym was not too noisome. Being Thor’s Day I listened to Linux podcasts, these episodes being ones of the “UK Ubuntu podcast”. One of the delightful discussion topics was whether Canonical/Ubuntu is discorporating? And this was an old podcast circa U 13.10 release. The response was mixed wth a tenor of functionality winning out over ergonomics and rationality. IOW, U server is pretty good.

I recently ran across this cartoon: [Link]

and it seemed somehow relevant. Perhaps it was the closing lament that it is hard to run FOSS projects if no one wants to participate. Evidently all the organizational administrative and management groups have vacancies exceeding applicants and the pedestrian geeks are leaving faster than Rattus Norwegicus the Titanic.

So how can you run FOSS projects if you have no volunteers? Answer: abandon FOSS and become MegaHard or Fruit. 

Since it is now past the release of U 14.04 and Canonical has not gone away, the matter has not been as revolutionary as it seemed back then. But it did give me occasion to consider my own experiences. I started out in Linux with a market survey. I first tried Scientific Linux and found it rather too stiff. So I took up Ubuntu. And then Canonical introduced Unity and I rediscovered hate, loathing, and nausea. So I switched to Kubuntu and Xubuntu. And began to have other problems which are still unresolved as to cause. 

And then Canonical decided to abandon the hinterland. The elimination of an update ISO was the tipping straw, to mix metaphors. So now I use other distros, both Debian based and one supposedly a derivative of U but somewhat neutered (or is it spayed?) And both are supposed to be rolling release so I hope to avoid the practice of Nuke And Pave that was too often the only viable option with Ubuntu.

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi. And hopefully no Canonical troopers shooting through knotholes in Casterllum SCP.

Discontinued Distribution

There are times, I am told, when only violence will settle a problem. No, I don’t mean pogroms or what is inaccurately called genocide. Since the only genus we have left is homo, what with the Romans being reduced to not a city state, so genocide only applies if we are going to extinguish humanity. Which is a bit much for this nuisance.

My primary gripe with Linux is upgrades. They are the riskiest aspect of using the OS. They are what almost completely generates the term “nuke and pave”. Which I hope is self-explanatory? 

Anyway, I have been doing a lot of N&P (hopefully that is also self-explanatory) the last year. Mostly due to a combination of hard drive failures and something really whacked in an install of Ubuntu with KDE grafted on since Unity is so painful and aproductive. But for the last two months I have been getting increasingly stressed as a new Long Term Support release loomed, arrived, and I waited for the upgrade release.

Several years ago the hassle of selling actual media got to be too much for Canonical, probably offended some financial delusion of Saint Mark, and they started trumpeting the idea of direct by internet upgrades. Updates direct by internet were working pretty well, as they still do, but that’s nominally a few Mb rather than a few Gb! But they offered downloadable CD/DVD image files of the upgrades as well.

That turned out to be a necessity for me. Being a good user, I tried the direct by internet upgrade. I forget the numbers but it was one of those half-year things. If failed spectacularly. I downloaded a DVD image of the new release and did an N&P. Six months later I tried again and again downloaded a DVD image of the new release and did an N&P.

Thereafter I downloaded an upgrade DVD image and that worked pretty well. But when the next LTS (Long Term Support – read organizational version) came out I camped. And when a new LTS came out every two years I downloaded an upgrade DVD image and upgraded.

This year they announced that they were discontinuing the upgrade DVD image. Exclamation point. I was left with three choices: do nothing – not a good security strategy; try the direct internet upgrade; or N&P. I opted for the latter since if it failed, as I expected, I would have to exercise the third anyway.

So I did all the back up stuff, engaged the upgrade process, and it failed spectacularly!  The good news is that I now have statistical significance! The direct by internet upgrade process does NOT work! At least here in the hinterland. The other good news is that I am cutting ties with Canonical. If they can’t support me minimally with an upgrade DVD image then I ain’t going to support them. My deskboxes are now Ubuntu-free. They are still running Debian based distros but not Ubuntu based. And the few lapboxes I have still running Ubuntu based will be replaced as I can touch them. 

Canonical, you are herewith discontinued in Castellum SCP. The pony to poo ratio has finally gotten TOO low!


One of the most wonderful and enjoyable things about buying a refurbished computer is powering it up, inserting a Linux DVD, booting it, and overwriting Winders Ate with a usable and enjoyable OS. 

Its rather like taking a horrible disease and making something wonderful and useful out of it. 

I think Temujin said something about this sort of thing?

Change of Path

Almost to week out. And schule is resessioned? Maybe? Sorta? I am confused, mostly because I was told they were earlier in the week and then yesterday I drove past the terminal schule and the place only had educationalist motorcars in the park. And the bandwidth still is abysmal.

Off to the park this morning with a bit of difference. My usual constitutional diversion podcast seems to have dissipated and so I switched to listening to the lees of this week’s Linux Luddites podcast. I alternate this podcast with the Ubuntu podcast from the land of tyrants so I am not sure what I will listen next week but that’s then. Anyway it was a bit strange. Real English, albeit a but butchered, instead of an oleo of Jawjan and Brit, and techninal instead of geek. And the negative comments about the ubuquitous shitty keyboard were enjoyable but a mixed bag of (semi) lauding Unity but trashing Ubuntu (by a correspondent) was a bit confusing. Anyway, not the effect I am used to so this may be a bit of finding Livingston.

I did see a compliment of MegaHard, albeit at the expense of Fruit, the other day. Some journalist was asking why MegaHard could do a decent (??????) slab keyboard and Fruit couldn’t. Maybe the keyboard wasn’t made in the Heavenly Kingdom? This is sort of a mind gristle. Fruit has always extruded these strange keyboards. Like the keys HP put on their calculators in the middle years. Like chicklet gum with that didn’t crunch. MegaHard, on the other hand, has always extruded keyboards that are best used by people how lack sensation in their upper phalanges. I had an employee once who was addicted to one of MegaHard’s “ergonomic” keyboards. The ones that looked like a Hollywood swimming pool. Turned out that was symptomatic of other problems between the ears.

That’s the problem with the world these days. Not Global Climate Change and the extinction of humanity. Not the civil war between Democruds and Repulsians, which admittedly does give some intriguing insights into how far society lets the metally ill demonstrate and destroy before (ever?) restraining them for the common good. Where is that common good these days? Certainly not keyboards!

I am currently using a DAS. It is a dim shadow of a decent keyboard like a Northgate or the original Itty Bitty Machine keyboard. But it is the best of a soory despicable lot that I have been able to find. Evidently no one wants to do I/O these days. It took me a while to notice but the resolution of monitors these days is rather sparse and getting high resolution is tragically expensive. Comparable to buying your own third world country. With or without Ebola.

One of my coleagues has suggested that this is part of the robot conspiracy. Its a campaign to divorce us from doing constructive work with computers. Then we will be helpless when the computers rebel and dispose of the politicians. And probably the rest of us. Unless climate change gets there first and the computers get the planet from us the same we we got them from the dinosaurs.

But I’m going to keep looking. Because with the right keyboard we can make the politicians either behave or sit in rubber rooms.

See! I told you that walk was different.

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Towers Toppling

Summer endeth! Schule resessions tomorrow and the educationalists must report today so in the most local of terms, thus endeth summer. And I rather regret it in a way. Now the gym will be flooded with arrogance and people and noise and annoyance and bullying and all those things that have been absent the last couple of months. And being thus depressed I turned to matters of similar gloom.

The first is a gloom for Apple and MegaHard and even, amusingly, Mozilla. It seems [Link] that android OS cellular telephones make up 0.85 of the global cellular telephone market. Since this is greater than 0.793, android may be considered to hold a Lanchestrian monopoly of the cellular telephone marketplace. So long as they have this monopoly they dominate the marketplace. Which means things are pretty dismal for the other players.

What is amusing is that the previous Lanchestrian monopoly in the digital electronics/computer market was held by MegaHard with Internet Stumbler. And that monopoly was broken by Mozilla with FireFox. So these monopolies don;t last forever but they do last too long – usually. And have rather nasty effects.

I have to admit that I use an android cellular telephone. Can’t abide Apple. Dark side from my POV. And MegaHard is worse. But I would switch to FireFoxFone in a flash if I could.

The second gloom is that tablet sales are somewhere between even and declining. And the flagship manufacturers are definitely declining. Apple is close to hurting, making this gloom 2 for them. And MegaHard is evidently irrelevant except among anal retentive corporations who buy employees MegaSlabs that get left at office. The antithesis of BYOD evidently. And I suspect totally ignored beyond the bullpen?

What is not clear is whether we are seeing the beginning of the end of MegaHard? They are fast losing ground in all theaters. Unless they have a “wonder weapon” hid back they are likely going to be overrun or, at least, marginalized.

And I shall be happy. At least as soon as Scientific Word 6 comes out.

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