Bog Rot

A dark and stormy night. Well, not that stormy. But precipitous. I arose about 0230 to observe the eclipse and all I could see was overcast and the refraction of street light in the droplets on my glasses. So I returned to bed and almost failed to arise. Gym was blissfully sparse, the present weight bouncers were civil, and the podcast episodes, especially the SCIENCE one, were up to expectations: SCIENCE was deep and exacting; NPR was boisterous and slippery; and the Guardian was romantic.

But in and around that I got to spend some attention span on morning – early morning – television and the rather higher density of advertisements. Or am I just jaded later and don’t notice the nasty things.

Anyway, I have been reading several articles lately about how modern life, i.e., the internet, is causing us to become more stupid as a society. I have been ready to credit this somewhat since it is now almost impossible to have intelligent discourse with a GEN Y old enough to have a “smart” cellular telephone. They are ignorant, defining smart in terms of what they can find with their phone, quite ignoring the fundamental untrustability of the the internet.

It may be argued that this is not surprising. With the rise of social networks, bogs have become boggier, if such a plague is possible, and even geeks have become less avid collectors. I have even been accused of paranoia for not accepting as canonical that the internet is eternal and eternally available. Living in the hinterland reassures me daily that neither is accurate.

But having observed early morning commercials with even more egregious prevarication and inaccuracy than later commercials, it occurred that this is less a matter of fooling somnolent individuals than preying on the ignorance of the GEN Ys. I intend to do an informal survey but my testing hypothesis is that they are orthogonal to these flaws and errors. And there is likely nothing we can do but resolve ourselves for the collapse.

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End of Days – Sorta

Today is the end of support by MegaHard for Winders XP. It may also be the day marking the beginning of the end for MegaHard but that is not only uncertain, but likely improbable. Nastiness tends to stay around. I noticed an article earlier – lost when my other deskbox imploded – that some storage barrels of stercus several centuries old had been found and still had the odorus sterci – the olfactory punch of poo. MegaHard may not be several centuries old. nor all that nasty as corporations go today, but they still have magnum odorus.

The onslaught on XP will not be immediate, but it likely will come. Low hanging fruit and all that sort of rot – language rot, that is. I was marveling this morning after listening to science podcasts how abused the American English language is, and how facile Americans are at abusing such. I find it very disturbing when scientists, who should be speaking with care and precision, utter misuses and catch phrases like illiterate valley waifs. So there will be no shortage of low habgubgf fruit for the evildoers to rob and plunder.
I mentioned yesterday the issue of money instiututions. I feel moved to reiterate. If your money institution is not forthcoming that they are using a trustworthy OS, and tell you which one, then they almost certainly are using XP and should not be trusted. Sadly, since the vast majority of money inistitutions are still using XP – I have heard numbers as high as 0.8 of all ATMs are still XP driven – there is no easy answer on how to find a trustworthy money institution. And unfortunately, the use of a mattress safe is neither wise nor practical. Too many organizations, the Yankee government included, do direct deposit. Add to this the arrogance and cupidity of the bankers who manage these organizations and the risk becomes a necessity to assume. But you can reduce your exposure by not using ATMs. Unless they have a Penguin sticker. The new ones are Linux driven, but  they are few. The money organizations with technical savvy will advertise that in short order. 
The same goes for other organizations, including chain stores. If a store or business establishment won’t tell you what OS their money hardware is using, caveat emptor.
As for me, I am going to continue to use XP for the clients I still need to use. But I disabled wifi on all those machines and limit their interaction with the external world to printers and USB sticks. And I am doing more with money these days – pictures of dead politicians. Stores may not like it but if they complain I’ll spend it elsewhere. Be an offensive consumer!

Monetary Caution

Tomorrow, as we should know, is Abandonment Day for Winders XP. MegaHard will be releasing a final update but it seems to mostly be about Office. Anyway, we now need to enter a mode where we are very leery of any corporate (or organizational) computer system involving things of value – like money – unless the corporation (organization) has provided positive evidence of upgrading to another OS.

In particular this applies to banks and credit unions and and business where you use a credit or debit card. One of my colleagues, Magentic Inductance Forse, forwarded me an email from a credit union that declined to respond whther they had upgraded or not. It was also quite rude, a diversion that indicates that their system, especially ATMs, is vulnerable. So act accordingly Caveat Emptor.

Absence Assortment

A middling morning. Back to low temperatures, for a week the weather beavers promise and we know how their promises are worth a Continental banknote. The gym was actually pleasant this morning mostly because schule is desessioned so the educationalists and most of the weight bouncers are unpresent. The harassment and bullying were almost zero. Only the staff was being oppressive and frightening.

As is my usual I listened to an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” podcast, this one dealing with Albert Schweitzer. My memories of Schweitzer are from childhood when I read a rather saccharine children’s biography of him, revisiting when the Yankee government issued a stamp commemorating him. I was vaguely aware of his musical ability.

The podcast claims that the current generation do not know him and based on the rest of the podcast I am sure I did not either although I recognized his name. I was unaware of his academic accomplishments, thinking him a physician who went off into the jungle. Although not assessed, he was clearly fleeing towards something, probably a rebellion against European society and culture. Instead, the podcast was much more interested in talking about his opposition to nuclear weapons, an activity that made him a smear target of the Yankee and other governments, a situation I could not help – mysef – comparing  to Snowden. Both were  (are) portrayed as puppets of the Russians. I was also bemused to listen to the characterization of his behavior towards native Africans as natural albeit authoritarian by the natives and racist by Americans. Somehow that seems to fit with what I have seen of most racism monologues. Racism seems to be more a smear accusation than any actuality, at least in most cases. And it certainly is devoid of any scientific validity, which rather supports the slanderous and bullying aspect.

In that regard, I listened to an episode of the Marketplace Technology Report that reported (!) that the Management of Target (the chain store) was not only negligent but incompetent in the recent data breach. It seems that they invested in security software prior to the incursion that lead to the breach and that this software alerted them to the incursion. Which was ignored entirely by management.

It would seem that firing parties are definitely in order. Once this becomes common knowledge I doubt Target will survive the litigation. It’s one thing to claim being outwitted, another to own up to actual negligence and incompetence.

And hence into the week. I shall try to enjoy it. 

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Rainy Day Mutterings

Since it is rainy, and I don’t really want to stir, clearing a few tabs seems a useful endeavor leading up to breaking of fast. First, I have to note a very entertaining article [Link] criticizing Apple and Gartner for being unable to do analysis. I don’t care too much about Apple, at least so long as I have any other choice in products, or can somehow eke out existence without the product, but eviscerating Gartner appeals to my hunter side.

Back when I worked for the Yankee army I had to deal with Gartner numerous times, all identically flawed and unpleasant. The company seemed to be outside evolution. It made the same mistakes and somehow garnered the same exorbitant profits for giving bad advice. They used the same one-model-fits-none-but-we-apply-to-all approach and after I while I understood why – it always assured they had something nasty to say about everyone’s operations. So its not that they are averse to analysis, just only within their money-making model that applies to no one but somehow makes them lots of money.

I recall that we used to think leeches were only bad because they not only sucked blood but spread diseases. Medical practice has since found valid uses for them of benefit but I am not holding my breath that Gartner will ever be found to be of any benefit. I have evolved the conjecture that they have the solitary merit of antagonizing subordinates thus permitting executives to appear benevolent when they relax or suspend the irrelevant and wasteful recommendations of Gartner.

Next, I came across an article [Link] about how MegaHard is offering piddly sums to XP users to switch to a newer Winders. Let’s see, if I go to a MehaHard store – none in Nawth Alibam, incidentally – and buy a new computer with a newer Winders – read W8 in all its don’t-work for a couple of kilobucks, Yankee tender, then MegaHard will give me a hundred bucks rebate. And that’s a deal? No wonder they are losing marketspace. [Link] And don’t know why. Could it be that they have spent so long with Winders being the (almost) only OS that when lots better comes along they can’t see it.

Wasn’t there a children’s fairy tale about an emperor and his clothes?

Private Killing

Another wonderful day in Greater Metropolitan Arab where we have ample demonstration that pickup trucks are a vanity since the correlation between owning one and having poor driving skills is VERY high, almost deterministic. The season “Spring” is nearing and the city guvmint is busily out scraping roads with inappropriate equipment to frighten homeowners that they may be stranded while the city repaves a few streets, all unannounced as to schedule. In the interim driving is akin to walking on a gravel path.

At gym this morning I listened to the SCIENCE podcast which is becoming shorter and shorter and will soon become useless as a diversion from perspiration and pain. It did however give a good counterargument to the noxious idea of corporate aristocrats privatizing science. Seems that the Gooey web site for tracking influenza, which started out mediocre, has become steadily worse. The best indication of influenza infestation is still the center for disease control which is a Yankee government apparat.

The reason the Gooey influenza site is failing is simply that Gooey is a for-profit corporation. Capitalism in action, as it were, and that action is contrary to good scientific practice. In fact, the whole thing seems to be a cornucopia of bad science and bad capitalism, not that the latter may not be redundant.

First of all, what Gooey is doing is closed off because, naturally, it’s corporate secret. Which means it ain’t science since there is no review or test. Second, there appear to be bad assumptions about the nature of things which can only be inferred since, as stated, all the real mechanics is hidden away. And thirdly, it seems that Gooey keeps changing the rules for how it builds it data set that the influenza site searches WITHOUT telling the influenza site people how it changes the rules!

The inference, if not conclusion, is that closed science isn’t really science and private ownership of science becomes not-science. So part of the road to Amerika becoming a capitalist aristocracy is the abandonment of science.

Ceramic Catafalque

I can recall when all bathrooms had ceramic tiles. Some were completely tiled. And they were a rectal pain of chronic proportion to maintain what with the grout getting dirty and moldy and the tile itself getting dull with a film of that hermaphroditic chemical we call soap. Today, the only tile in my bathroom is a linoleum that has the texture of tile.

The same can be said for all of my computers except my cellular telephone and tablet. (Yes, I have a tablet. It’s a rare 7.5 cm one that I never use and hence constantly needs charging, but I have one.) And yes, I do have Unity and Gnome 3 installed on a couple of machines but I also have conventional GUIs as well that get used in other than experimental mode. And those experiments are long gone and the tile GUIs reside from laziness to remove them.

But I am confronted this morning with the question of whether the tile GUI or Megahard is dead? If the former, then someone needs to tell Canonical because April fast approaches. If the latter, then we should go rent a back hoe on the theory that dead horses are a health risk and should be buried (or turned to pet food) sine die.

Is seems [Link] that Mozilla has ceased work on a Metro version of FireFox. Which means that the W8 tile GUI is irrelevant. Or that W8 is irrelevant. Or that Megahard is irrelevant. Hence the question.

Mozilla, it may be remembered is the organization that checked Megahard’s visions of a thousand year reich. They did this by making Internet Explorer a back woods buffoon. A village idiot. And since then MegaHard has shown an amazing talent for parading sans clothing.

In many ways, Mozilla is the true champion of FOSS, not Canonical. I can easily see spending $50 on a FireFox Fone, knowing that in short order its app store will rival or surpass Android’s. I cannot see paying $300+ for an Ubuntu phone and having to wait for apps that really work with the small screen. Apps that will probably have to be written by Canonical since they have micturated all their volunteer coders by micturating on them.

The tile GUI works on the small screen just like chicklet keys worn on a calculator. But neither work scaled up. Someone tell Canonical that.

Moral Prevarication

Somewhat belatedly, I noticed over weekend that the CVS drugstore chain has announced they will cease to purvey tobacco. What makes this noteworthy is that this is proclaimed as a morality matter. Which is intriguing since organizations not only don’t have morals, they almost always also don’t have ethics.

The reason given for this withdrawal from the marketplace is that tobacco causes all manner of diseases. So far, accurate. But if they are ceasing to sell tobacco because it causes diseases that kill humans, why are they continuing to sell foodstuffs that are laden with salt, fats, and other ingredients that cause diseases like obesity and heart disease and such? Have they decided these are not fatal or are morally (?) acceptable diseases? And what about homeopathic remedies that don’t cure any diseases? How can they justify such morally since they have discontinued selling tobacco on a moral basis?

I rather suspect that the profit of tobacco is marginal to their business and the demographic askew to their business model. In effect, they don’t want to sell tobacco because it doesn’t make them enough money and the people who buy tobacco don’t spend enough overall in their stores. Which is obviously a quite moral basis of decision. Not enough profit and the wrong clientele has always been fundamental to Amerikan social morality as reasons for exclusion, persecution, and abuse.

Isn’t it nice to know that greed and evil are still rampant among Amerikan corporations?

Shack Sag

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.

RIP, Radio Shack.