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!

Stercus Brick

I have long wondered why almost all GEN Ys spend so much of their time staring at their cellular telephones. I now understand. My IBM PC circa 1984 CE worked better, faster than my Motorola DROID. And connected to the internet better, which is not at all instead of seldom and randomly.

No wonder we are turning into a third world country: our manufactured devices are crap. No, crap squared!

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Ethical Automation?

I am not sure what kind of animal the Arab Conscript Parents were abusing in the park last evening but it was a horrendous noise. And after calling the animal control people I am of the conjecture they were in on the sadism. FD SCP opined it was some form of music but if so it was 10 dB worse than giving a kindergarten band concert massive sound amplifiers and an overdose of cane sugar. If I were of a religionist bent I might have suspect the gates of Tartarus had opened.

But the place was calm and fairly peaceable this morning when I went for my morning constitutional and no sign of rain. While I enjoy rain I have reached an age whee I have to take care with heat transfer.

And sine the podcast was abysmal, a new one I am trying called “Probably Science”, which was all about public defecation this morning, I had occasion to contemplate a cartoon: [Link]

that I ran across this week. I have to admit that the direction modern motorcars are taking is rather distressing to me. I still consider the epitome of automotive excellence to be somewhere between my ’64 Corvair Spyder with the manually operated windows and vents but required me to carry three cinder blocks in the (front) trunk to keep the nose on the road at high speed, and mu ’70 Triumph that had seven forward gears and a lovely running feel and effect but required me to tote about a squirt can of low density oil to top off the carburetor dash pots.

None of the motorcars I have had in the last twenty years drove as well as either of these, nor was as comfortable to drive. For some reason seats are all abysmal, rivaling those in airliners for discomfort and distress, with some of the Asian manufacturers being the least bad of a sorry lot. Detroit motorcars are so uncomfortable as to be non-starters, a fact I must conceal from FD SCP who dotes on her Chevrolet land juggernaut and whose primary merit seems to be insights in little ole lady driving proclivities. 

I also find the “amenities” of these motorcars overblown. Satellite wireless is a mandate for hemorrhoid cream; I should be quite satisfied with a simple AM/FM wireless although the ability to connect, via wire, to my MP3 player is a moderate attraction. But voice control is a thing to be avoided. When I am singleton in vehicle I talk to myself to think out analyses and I would not like to inadvertently tell the motorcar to do something damaging. Besides, these systems are designed for slime mold sentience level bogs and cannot  be disengaged except with a hammer.

I do enjoy the amenity of a GPS system but I also want the option of unplugging it. None of my primary schule teachers were that naggy. And I have my smartphone programmed to go brick while motoring as a safety matter. Clearly all of these inducements are covert attempts to reduce the population density.

But what disturbs me the most is the OS of the motorcar. As one may infer from my maunderings, I am a supporter of FOSS and a detester of Winders and Apple. Does this mean that it would compromise my ethics if I purchased a motorcar that does not use FOSS? Is one even offered? For some reason this is not something that advertisements cover, perhaps because the manufacturers fear to announce?  But the matter does merit further study.

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Irreversible Hotel States

Dihydrogen oxide alert! Falling from the sky. Tell the religionists to put their mystic lobes in gear.

On which note, I heard on the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver that the Huntsville hotel apparat is trying to broaden its base from business travelers to tourists. Not a good move I fear. Speaking as one who took too many “business” trips, I can say with considerable confidence that business travelers do NOT like staying at tourist hotels. Tourists tend to be noisy, obnoxious, and have children along. Spectator sports tourists may be the worst of all.

If I stay at a hotel and it demonstrated to be a hotel with considerable tourist presence, the only way I would ever stay at that hotel again would be out of necessity. (Such as being the only decent hotel in town.) So if a hotel becomes known as a tourist place, it effectively shuts itself out of the business market.

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Reich’s Store

Gad! Nasty day yesterday. Had to motor to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City of the Hill for observance of grandbairn’s birthday anniversary. Made appearance, suffered the crowds and such for too long, and then saw the Kriegsbunny. And then promptly ran into the battle lines of Huntsville Constabulary doing a Crimea on some guy living next a fireworks emporium. So I ended up going around three sides of a square to get home just so the Nawth Alibam Gestapo could have a hobnail party to enliven what must have been a dull Saturn’s day.

Then I learned [Link] that MalWart is the nation’s worst – as in least liked – grocery store. Seems that the fraction of survey respondants unfriending MalWart was 0.8! That’s 4/5 for those who have problems with decimals. The compliments were summarized as

“Shoppers who frequented Walmart, the nation’s largest grocer and the chain with the most shoppers in our survey, were most likely to be miffed about the lack of open checkouts, out-of-stock regular items, indifferent employees, spotty pricing, and confusing store layout.”

Can’t agree too strongly with this. MalWart is notorious for making you spend more time waiting in queue than in buggy stuffing. And they seem to go out of their way to discontinue both the stuff you need – like no salt added foodstuffs – and stuff you have come to like. I can’t complain too much about employee indifference. If anything I sympathize given how MalWart treats its employees worse than slaves.

I’m not sure what spotty pricing is and the article doesn’t explain but I do know that the supposed savings at MalWart aren’t really worth the lost time standing in queue. That’s why I am trying to reduce my MalWart purchases to local uniques with the goal of zeroing. And confusing store layout? Chaotic and random is more like it. I think the strategy is to change things so you have to hunt and get snookered into buying unwanted stuff.

Wonder why the Huntsville Constabulary can’t do a Crimea on some of the MalWarts in Huntsville? Seems like it would be much more entertaining than a fireworks shop. And much more appreciated by the citizenry.

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Sears Sag

Not too bad. Nice walk in park. Gotta find a better podcast to divert though. Pony to poo ratio TOO low.

Speaking of said ratio, I noted this week an article [Link] about the rotting of Sears, Roebuck and Company. I am saddened. Sears was a part, positive and negative, of my maturation. Back when I was a bairn, the highlight of November was the appearance of the Sears Solstice Book. They called it a Christmas book but there was nothing not secular about it. I don’t ever recall seeing holy water or wafers or even a bible offered for sale in the catalog. The Solstice one, at least. I think they listed bibles – but not torah nor quran – in the big catalog.

Huntsville was Nawth Alibam’s Toy Desert in those days, except that everywhere, except the big cities, were toy deserts in those days. Still are, I suppose. I recall trips to department stores in Birmingham, Alibam’s stinky version of a ~big~ city where they had a few square feet devoted to toys, mostly collectible dolls and metal soldiers. Stuff one couldn’t play with. So the Sears solstice book was epiphanal.

When I was a teenager, Sears opened a real store, not just a pick-up-big-things-ordered-from-catalog storefront, that was a great way to improve a date that had degenerated into silence. I am still amazed today how seeing that stuff could bond otherwise mismatched people. The roots of understanding sedentaryism were there.

I never got a slide rule from sears. They sold Pickett slide rules, which were made of aluminium, I believe. Somehow that seems a fitting match up given the solidity of what Sears offered. Nothing flighty or fashionable. I am surprised Garrison Keilor (sp?) hasn’t Worbegoned on Sears. So selling metal slide rules fits. Not very good but solid and enduring.

When I went off to graduate schule, Sears was where I went to acclimatize. They didn’t advertise it, but what they sold – storefront and catalog – was regional in those days. So I could get a good Plains Democrat Winter Coat in Sears and not worry about looking ferdish. Grad students wear whatever and people from Alibam were considered sophisticated in those days if they wore a shirt and shoes.

Even now, Sears is helpful. FD SCP bought clothes cleaning machines from them last year. And the question of why the transition from mail-order to storefront retailer is irreversible seems all too important in this day when mail order is once again the mode. It worked for my grandparents and now it works for me. Except there are times I would like to buy one of those Sears prefabricated cottages and go plop down on some VERY out of the way ground.

I shall miss them. I can only hope they survive long enough that I don’t have to sit Kaddish for them.

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