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. 

Sleep and Such

Once more into the boundary of week out. The outer boundary. And another pseudo-shabbat. So we have to endure all manner of superstition and mysticism on the media but tomorrow will be mundane day and we may resume a modal trajectory. The temperature was not as low as threatened by the weather beavers but whether that was the usual, not-polar-vortex, weather or just being early. Sometimes the temperature continues to fall after Sol becomes visible due to increased wind. 

I did a bit different this week out. Finished a podcast episode of “The Linux Luddites” rather than the usual to provide both variation and incite cogitation. The noise was definitely more amenable. Less self-discussion of the nonsense and stupidity being uttered. But the learning material was quite different.  And the thought processes.

Noted an article [Link] that claims that seniors get adequate sleep but don’t feel it is enough. Hockitus non est! Been that way since I was in my fifties. And haven’t had a dozen good night sleep since heart attack. I am of the opinion it is about brain chemistry although the article says naught along that azimuth. So my discontent is unabated.

I was rather befuddled that the O’Bama would name a justicer as tsar of Ebola. I can see not laying the duty on a medicalist but why not a nicely fascist military guy? The kind who can order firing parties unblinkingly. If history teaches us anything it is that the rule of law functions negatively during epidemics. For the bogs, that means that being strictly legal during epidemics gets more people killed. Of course that may be the administration’s intent. They may think the country needs to lose a sizable fraction. And a lawyer can have all the nice paperwork drawn up to implement martial law and firing parties and all that, all nicely legal. And they can probably find military guys to do the dirty deeds and leave the tsar to bleed?

After all, the black plague was the womb of modern democracy, wasn’t it?

Efficient Suicide

Not as low, but because of rising at an earlier hour and venturing out directly still an unpleasant experience. And then the podcast, an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” was a nasty – to me – exaltation of how artificial intelligence and robots are going to extinguish humanity. Quite apart from the reducing everyone to unemployment it will totally destroy the satisfaction of work and make life meaningless for all but the most slime moldish, and we shall fall below the numbers necessary for continuation.

It seems fitting somehow that I ran across an article [Link] about how the eyewitness foundation of the justicer system, at least here in the Yankee republic, is based not on sand but quicksand. And the warning is issued by the Yankee government’s research council which is still adequately nerdy despite the pollution of administrators and political appointees. 

I find it intriguing that the politicians have not weighed in on this either on religionist grounds – God makes us true witnesses – or progressive – we are the keepers of society – grounds. 

But what is depressing is that the tenor is how to patch up an inherently flawed – to uselessness? – system rather than building a valid replacement. Sometimes I am convinced that calling ourselves ‘sapiens’ is galgenhumor.

Sundae Cherries

Whacked week out. This should be outer boundary but since tomorrow is a holy day, the celebration of labor by not-labor – yes, it is a Yankee government holy day; the conscript parents of Alibam don’t believe in not-labor, especially for the serfs and slaves – so tomorrow which should be the start of week in is only somewhat that. But today is still sundae so it seems fitting we may comment freely and rationally about irrationality and superstition.

But we can also expect things to be a bit of ‘hawgin’ because I need to trim some tabs away.

I ran across a rather intriguing article [Link] some days ago, entitled “Anthropology and Christianity”, which is apparently some sort of shill for a book on the subject. These are both subjects that interest me, partly because I took an anthropology track as an undergraduate and partly because my parents subjected me to all sorts of upliftment – not in the David Brin sense – as a bairn. The author’s tack, as might be expected, is that the two are diametrically opposed. Happily he does admit to being inaccurate. In fact, his summary is rather uplifting,

“When anthropologists today glory in their discipline’s rejection of faith they often have in mind a very specific form of belief: a highly judgmental, narrowly sectarian version of religious commitment that condemns the indigenous people they study as totally cut off from any positive, authentic spiritual knowledge and experience.”

This comes rather close to my own views, which is surprising since Anthropology in recent years has been on a denial-that-anthropology-is-science shtick. My thing is testability. If something is testable and you don’t/won’t test it then that is denial and mysticism and superstition. There are things that aren’t testable, either because of technology limitations or fundamental unsuitability and the latter at least are valid domains for arational faith.

Too many religionists, not just christianists, flatly demand that their beliefs not be tested. Some of this is insecurity; some is greed; some is something else, fear perhaps. Fundamentally I view all of these as bad reasons.

I also have a couple of cartoons to dismiss. First, [Link]

I was rather taken by this cartoon. It is one I follow mostly because of the brilliance of the artist. This seems to be rather a nicely done criticism of bogs. The misuse of “dumb” is a red flag.

This all follows from what I was blogging recently about bogs being shallow but wide ranging in their knowledge whereas nerds are deep but discrete (and not in the behavior sense.) Attention span is related to this. Bogs tend to have limited attention span-time for knowledge. This is largely why they are wide but shallow. Nerds, on the other hand, have great temporal depths of attention span which goes with their depth of knowledge.

The second cartoon [Link]

is related. It also refers to bogs, in this case particularly, to Amerikan bogs. These are the people who tell their children that they will never use algebra after taking the course in high schule. And despite the adolescent rebellion, they do take this to heart, and dismiss their minds, and the nation is third world when it comes to maths.  If it wasn’t for cash registers made in Asia, Amerikan bogs couldn’t do money. Not that they do it very well.

Which gets us to Adam Frank’s article [Link] in the New Yawk Times on science denial in Amerika. One more aspect of our national race for third world state. Or perhaps the “Marching Morons”? Although he doesn’t say it but it appears increasingly likely that that denial is going to get the species extinct.

And in closing, one of my readers has asked me to identify the science podcasts I listen to. Being somewhat lazy, I shall just list the week’s podcasts on a modal basis:

  • Mundane day: CBC’s “Best of Ideas”;
  • Two day: Guardian science podcast, science segments from NPR, and SCEINCE;
  • Woden’s day: CBC’s “Quirks and Quarks:;
  • Thor’s day: Linux podcast: either Linux Luddites or UK Ubuntu podcast;
  • Freya’s day, Saturn’s day; Sundae: “The Pen Addict”

I have some alternatives for when these are unavailable. I have not included the links to these since they are easily found with a bit of web search.

Go forth and find frozen yogurt, ice cream if you are a mutant.

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!

Morning Musings

Listening to the political commercials this morning – all Repulsian – I have to wonder how we elected this combination of Adolph Hitler and Atilla the Hun  to be POTUS. The answer is, of course, that Alibam didn’t elect him; they elected the Repulsian capitalist oligarch tyrant.

But now that he has settled into his second term, I have to wonder how Alibam politics is his vilification? How can the folks in Muntgum, themselves lackeys of Alibam oligarchs, make such comic opera treason with straight faces?

But they do.

And because of that I have come to understand why they can get away with being climate change denialists. It’s because the second civil war will occur and kill off millions before the climate change gets to that stage.

Chinese curse in action.

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