Plague of Bad

Into week out and no great joy in sight. FD SCP informs me we have duty tonight as dog sitters. Gad, I do dislike mammoth canines. At least they haven’t tusks nor trunks. And the weather continues pelting. We seemed to have five or six showers yesterday whose only advantage was that I didn’t have to water the new trees.

A fairly pleasant constitutional although the podcast was a bit yuck. I suppose it is the podcasters angst spilling over onto my own.

Not much this morning. A couple of cartoons. First, [Link]

that I found yesterday. Yesterday was a good day for cartoons. I find myself appreciating this cartoon. I used to have a couple of employees who were of scant value but firing them was too much trouble. So they got sent to every meeting no one else wanted to attend. And they never got promoted, but we were always happy when they applied for a job – elsewhere.

The horrible thing is that they were quite understandable. Fewer and fewer jobs these days are actually fun or even rewarding. They are drudge necessities of life. And with organizations being so self-centered and greedy, no loyalty exists in either direction.

The other one [Link]

is about my life. All too often these days are bad head day. They say that when you get to be a manager you have to submit to surgery to destroy parts of your brain. Well, when you retire you have to accept a lot of bad head days.

This one is a gem. It speaks to a lot more than this cartoon usually rises to. But it isn’t a dream, waking or otherwise. It’s a fully fledged daymare.

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OS Angst

Not bad so far. The weight bouncers were a bit overbearing and menacing this morning but otherwise gym was passable. The weather is no too bad and the podcast, an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” was about the arguments over the history of the Vietnam conflict and was amusing in its political maneuverings if nothing else. But I still feel a bit like I was beaten with a cudgel.

This is the time – evidently – of OS angst. I ran across an article [Link] in the Register about how MegaHard is going to divorce itself from the disaster that is W8 by ceasing to support the first version of the OS, the one without the START button. They just cut the cord on WXP – except for those who are willing to pay large sums for continued support, like the Yankee government’s Internal Revenue “Service” – and now they are cutting the cord on a year (?) old OS, their supposedly best and newest? Do they intend to just get out of the OS business and leave that to Fruit, Gooey, and the League of Free Software? Nah!, they;re too greedy and venial for that.

On which azimuth, I came across a rather strange article [Link] entitled “Are Windows Users Disappointed When They First Try a Linux OS?” The title is evidently motivated by the question:

“why aren’t the disgruntled or bored Windows users fleeing by the millions to Linux?”

which is presumably motivated by the perception that not enough disgruntled WXP (redundant?) users aren’t embracing some distro of Linux as avidly as meat lovers the Atkins diet? I suspect the author assumes a higher demographic fraction of rationals among WXP users than realists do. Or that some article was needed as filler and come-on. It is after all, short and a bit sensationalist, even for modern journalists.

First of all, I rather gave up on evangelizing Winders users to Linux a long time ago. Like most evangelism it is more likely to fail resoundingly than to be successful, and that the success are usually due to rational rather than nutjob arguments. Which few evangelists can manifest. The rational that is. Evangelism, be it OS or religion, is mostly about fanaticism and the evangelist and not the product nor the recipient. So I wait for someone to ask. And convince me that they are going to give the OS a real try. Bimbos, of either gender, need not apply.

Having said that, and installed – usually – one of the WXP look alikes, I can report that new users all express disappointment. Most of that expression has to do ultimately with learning something new. It is in the nature of MegaHard and Winders to condition users not to learn. That’s one of the reasons that W8 was such a resounding failure. MegaHard did a foot shoot, with a recoilless rifle! That’s one of the reasons it’s nice that WXP is so tolerant of parallel installs of Linux.

Some of those who get this far regress but most progress and adapt and LEARN, stumbling mostly with the difference in update and install philosophies/procedures to a new stage of disappointment, disappointment that Winders could have be so much better. So those who do adopt, not just try, Linux are usually satisfied and much better users than they were with Winders. And that is good. Quality is often better than quantity and this is one of those cases. Leave the slime mold users to winders, or even fruit or gooey. We should be happy with a “band of brothers”.  And sisters. Which raises the question of why more female users are rationals than male users?

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Forcesless Biology?

Humor abounds! But you’ll have to put up with an explanation. I belong to a professional organization for science researchers named Sigma Xi. It used to be an honor society back when such were not politically incorrect and because it lacks integrity and honesty, the organization caved and ceased billing itself as such. They send out a daily newsletter. [Link] The newsletter includes a “relevant” quote and today’s is:

About the only thing that comes to us without effort is old age.
– Gloria Pitzer, American writer

Now, we look at our dictionary for the defintion of effort:

effort:  (technical) a force exerted by a machine or in a process.

It is impossible to live for any period of time longer than about a second without exerting force.

So one cannot live without exerting force and hence cannot live to “old age” without doing so.

I have to admit to not being familiar with the author and what is said likely makes sense in some boggish context, perhaps even geekisn, but NOT nerdish. In fact it is foolish and hence a matter of humor.

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Falling Freya

Into week out. And I squeaked a constitutional in the park. Got back  half an hour ago and the dihydrogen oxide is just now beginning to fall. Evidently the weather beavers didn’t get the time line quite right. I can excuse that. Turbulence tells! Just get the temperature extremes accurately!

I was glad to see the return of the Big Bang Theory program last evening. I don’t expect much from the television apparat but selling out to the roundball perversion was mentally nauseating. I can only rationalize it as the result of tertiary syphilis among the network executives. The only question is whether they got it on their own or it was passed to them in utero

My colleague, Magnetic Inductance Force, was regaling me about his correspondence with the maker of the SCIENCE podcast. Evidently he sent in some constructive criticism about the podcast episodes getting too short – which they have been – and ended up with a useful dialog. I have to agree that this is the sort of thing that makes SCIENCE podcast first among. Not that the journal itself isn’t anal retentive and Sturgeonish, but the podcast is definitely good. Which is surprising since Amerikans can’t seem to get the hang of podcasts. The other English speaking peoples do, but not Amerikans. Perhaps this has to do with having a dysfunctional political system?

Speaking of which, how do we start a petition to recall all congress critters? And have a national referendum on the matter. Given that most are approved at the local level but don’t function nationally indicates that some change is needed and I would prefer it not wait for armed violence.

Meanwhile the Alibam council of thieves has adjourned so at least they won’t do any more damage for a while. And in the interim maybe the Yankee government justicers will correct some of their vandalism.

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Thorian Candor

Survival, somehow. Actually, yesterday was not bad. The traffic was quite light in Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill; the Memorial Parkway was not a parking lot as it usually is when I try to traverse it. And the reduction in density seemed to quench the occurrence of Kamakazi drivers. It was a bit warm but I was able to buck up and not engage the temperature reduction mode as I returned to Greater Metropolitan Arab. And the gym was quite sparse this morning although the podcast, an episode of “The Linux Action Show” reviewing Cinnamon 2, was poor at best. Between sciency gibble that threatened to precipitate projectile regurgitation and a review that was almost completely incoherent as well as incomprehensible, I had attention span wandering and a touch of mind nausea.

I noticed some congress critter mumbling something about criminal charges against General Motors and my first thought was that the confress critter needed a better joke writer. Criminal charges against an organization? In Amerika? Pray do not insult my limited intelligence. What are you going to do, lock up the buildings in jail? Threatening a corporate oligarch with corporate fines just jacks up the price of goods. If you want to make the organization quit doing stupid shit to citizens, and that makes a deal more sense than extracting a monetary punishment that will cost more to collect that it amounts, then form firing parties and conduct a ritual decimation of the executives. After the YG does that a couple of time corporate amerika will play rather more nicely than it does now.

And speaking of punishment, I note that the so-called sitcom “How I met your mother” has concluded. No sadness here. What is it about New York (any big city) show that is supposed to be funny that it isn’t? Do people who live in cities actually think these are funny? If so, another reason not to live in cities. I have to admit to having watched the show a few times. The best I can say is that it is better than spectator sports. But funny? That it is not. I shall not comment on anything else: plot; actors; stories;….; that would be redundant. Failure is all pervasive.

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Top Dog Poo

Another day of strange temperature. Once again to gym without an additional coat; blissfully sparse lacking educationalists and weight bouncers alike. Podcasts fair although one about how the Army identifies the remains of unknown dead struck me as a measure of the futility and waste of our society.

First of all, there is a typical Army attitude of “no error permitted” so the rate of identification is less than glacial. The commons and the council of thieves have both criticized this which strikes me as nothing more than vote getting and the usual politician antipathy/hatred to science. Aristocrats do not abide being told their commands are ridiculous. The podcast was dressed up in a lot of science rhetoric but scant actuality. But the underlying question of why we continue this rather medieval practice was unstated and probably avoided. So I merely shook my head and was bemused at the irrationality and waste.

Meanwhile, the Register [Link] reports that the fastest growing fraction of Windows version usage is WXP! Between January and February it went up from 0.2923 to 0.2953! Which is apparently more than W7 and W8 summed. And great amazement is expressed based on the abandonment of WXP by MegaHard.

What got missed, I suspect, is fairly simple but at least two-fold. First of all, Winders users do not like W8. I am not sure if they hate it as much as WV, but they do not love either. Now, note that WXP has been up around 0.31 so if you have some who decide they just won’t upgrade because all the W choices are whacked, and some who actually switch OS to Apple or, even, Linux, then if the total number of W users decreases a bit the fractions reported in this article actually make sense.

The question we have to ask is: if MegaHard knows they are bleeding like a throat cut ostrich, why aren’t they doing something about their impending demise?

Hatred of Winter 5

Not nice the last couple of days. As the nation now knows, the old Confederacy got snow. Even places like the official Alibam City of Thieves (Muntgum) got snow. The state dermatologist declared an emergency, perhaps to make sure his insurance would cover the absence damage to his mansion in the city of the Black Warrior.

Here in Greater Metropolitan Arab we got a fraction of an inch but somewhat weirdly – complete coverage on the roads but little on the lawns and fields. So driving was a case of avoiding the 0.99 of Alibam drivers who think the best strategy when the weather goes bad is to drive as fast as they can to minimize the transit time. This might work is there were only one person on the roads but put several and what is done is to maximize the probability of a spin out or a bumper bash. Perhaps that’s why I live in Alibam – it makes me feel smarter.

But the actual aniceness has been the abysmal failure of the weather beavers. I consult about four or five forecasting sources when the weather is nasty and while they differ a bit, all were hideously off the last couple of days. For example, yesterday the foretelling was a minimum temperature in Greater Metropolitan Arab of 10-13 degF. The actual minimum, as measured by the local weather station, not newstations mind, weather station, was 5 degF. That’s not an 0.5 error mind you, to compute error you have to convert to a rational temperature scale like Kelvin or Rankine that puts scale zero at absolute zero. So it’s really a small error except that it’s well below the liquid->solid phase change temperature of dihydrogen oxide and a deltaT of 5 degF is a big deal given the nonexistence of competent weatherproofing in Nawth Alibam houses. I suspect in most houses in the old Confederacy but I have no data on that scope.

And they did it again this morning. Not by as much, but still more than I find acceptable.

The conscript parents of Atalanta held the weather beavers responsible for the city going into chaotic collapse. I think this is overdone. IMHO, the city is always on the verge of chaotic collapse, based on personal observations. It’s more a cancer than a city and so it always seems to be one “sproing” shy of collapse all the time. But the weather beavers showed their claws and swiped back, [Link] and said they offered plenty of sequential communications that started out with “mildly inconvenient” to “heat death”. The problem is that they ignored that communication is only effected if the linkage is complete. Broadcasting isn’t communication! It’s a monologue to the sky.

The problem is at least twofold. First, there is a difference between individual response to weather and organizational response to weather. In this case it’s epitomized by the difference between civilian and military meteorology. At root: it takes an organization longer to get its response together so it needs more lead time and the civilian meteorology system failed to do this. Second, meteorologists need to get better at communicating. Not broadcasting. Communicating. That means give and take of information. Perhpas the best way to do this is for each large city – bigger than Greater Metropolitan Arab – to have an staff weather beaver who thinks in communication and organization terms instead of broadcast schedule terms?

And lastly, I just heard that the good citizens of Birmingham who abandoned motorcars are now bitchin’ and moanin’ about towage fees. What Elrods! Do some homework on what tows cost these days. And the laws of the community you are driving through. See beyond your own entitlement. Don’t be a ferd.

The Womder of Stupid

So far a good start to the week. The gym was a bit underhot but not anywhere like it was last week, although starting mid-week this will not be comfort Alibam. The weight bouncers were restrained today, for some reason, and did not intrude with the delicacy of storm troopers as they usually do. The podcast episode, the second segment of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” on wisdom was poor but adequate to distract from a week away from gym.

What the podcast did tell me is that what we think of as wisdom is evolutionary, a social transport. So I found myself considering much of what the program considered to be wisdom to not be. I sense a move to popularize wisdom and am sorrowed. Wisdom, like education, is one of those things that disappears once it is common enough.

On which note, I ran across an article [Link] in the Register bemoaning 2013 as a miserable year for the sales of “PC”s and thereby the impending downfall of Tellurian civilization. I was instantly reminded of one of my father’s quotes about the Model T Ford: “you can have it in any color you want so long as it’s black.” The association with the yucky pastel of the original IBM PC is immediate and visceral.

Yes, “PC”, if by that we mean desk and lap boxes, sales are depressed. So were Model T sales once there were other models in the marketplace. Since its introduction by IBM, the PC has owned several informational niches – number crunching, text processing, communication, and entertainment. Lest it be misinterpreted, the latter category makes up something like a third to a half of the spectrum. As a rough bit figure that the personal, as opposed to the business or organizational, marketplace makes up easily a half.

So half of all the “PC”s have been used by individuals almost exclusively for entertainment (mainly,) and a bit of text processing and communication. Now offer those people simpler, easier (maybe,) cheaper (maybe) alternatives for the entertainment portion with reduced facility at processing and communication. (We now have cellular telephones that fail as telephones but are dandy entertainment appliances.) And be shocked that these people replace their “PC”s with these appliances? Or at least don’t buy a new “PC” when a new slab will do?

This seems to be one more evidence that business schule bogs are incapable of rational analysis.

Selah.

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The Myth of Management Competency

Zut! A better day so far. Enough heat in the atmosphere for me to sally forth to park for morning constitutional. And a different environment to cogitate in. Somehow what gets thought is different over in dark park than in illuminated study.

I have been musing on how oblivious managers can be. An example in case in Yahoo. I was reminded of this yesterday when I came across this cartoon: [Link]

although it is more about the rhetoric in the article than this particular graphic. Simply put Yahoo is now firmly embarked on the slippery slope to failure and dissolution. And management there is patently accelerating the process.

There are several components to this. I will probably only list some of them because I get tired of this type of listing. The first one is that almost all managers refuse to come to grips with thinking, even by themselves. That means that managers not only feel guilty about their own thinking but they refuse to defend it to superiors and they forbid it – all too often – among subordinates.

Even when the organization has to think to survive and prosper.

The problem is due to something inherent to humans and fostered by a long line of denialists from the Puritans through Taylor. Thinking is a form of “work” in the management sense of the word, which is different from its actual meaning, although thinking does involve the expenditure of energy, but all managers see it as “goofing off” and most react without consideration or good sense.

Another component is the rot that efficiency is important. In my experience if you see a manager talking about efficiency you know with 0.95 certainty that that manger is incompetent. Only if they are working in a formalized manufacturing environment does efficiency make sense. And in a creative, cognitive environment, efficiency is the shortest path to failure and collapse. What is important is effectiveness which is very hard to manage, which is why almost all managers don’t want to mention it.

Efficiency is catastrophe theory. One small change and your shining edifice becomes a pile of moldering rubble. And it’s irreversible. Which is a concept that management schules and pundits create a studied ignorance of out of abject terror.

And the third is that everything is measurable. This is a thing started by Taylor and solidified by all the people who studied Japanese manufacturing. It has some bearing in a manufacturing environment. Incidentally the combination of these latter two is why it makes eminent sense to get humans out of manufacturing and just have robots. But neither work well in an truly human environment.

Sadly, we know this but management schules and pundits decline to admit it because that would show how slovenly and inept they are. We can’t, for example, measure morale. We can observe it, but there is no buzzing electronic device to measure it. And as a result of being told by management pundits that everything needs to be managed, and hang the cost, and knowing that everything can’t, the average manager settles for measuring what can be and hang the cost. So overhead goes up, and effort and time are wasted measuring irrelevancies, and decisions are made without any foundation.

An example of this is Yahoo under the new management. How much time is spent “goofing off” (including thinking?) This quantity needs to be minimized since it is wasteful and inefficient. So no more thinking. And morale plummets. And productivity and creativity go to zero.

And the executive gets a nice bonus and the workers get sacked.

And I won’t even get into the nonsense of employee performance appraisals.

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Burning Organizational Bras

Zounds! Slept in this morning. An hour more than usual during gym days. I humor myself this is in preparation from tomorrow morning when the Yankee government will once more mangle our wake-sleep cycle, yet another reason to send all the bums to a joy-labor camp in Utah.

On which note I was rather disappointed to hear about the grrr brrr at LAX yesterday. A paragon of stupidity! When will these fluff brains get it through their calcium beanies that the folks who call the problems aren’t the civil servants but the politicians, especially the “elected officials”? Of course those guys are so guilty over their malfeasance that they surround themselves with so much security that the only way to get to them efficiently is with a Praetorian revolt.

I declined to take my morning constitutional this morning. The air temperature is above forty degF but I was reminded last week that my artificially thinned blood has the heat capacity of tarns-Lunar space and so I have to bundle up so much that exterior motion is negatively rewarding. So I made do with a brisk pedal on my stationary bicycle. It’s not as good, mostly because of the absence of gravitational exertion when I stumble and fall down and try to erect myself again, but it is a necessary substitution when the gym fails in its purpose, which is a succinct description of the gym at Scant City.

I noticed an irritating article [Link] yesterday entitled “Survey: younger employees break the rules and put your company at risk.” It’s purlished in PCWorld, which has always been a bit of an other-worldly magazine and this certainly lives up to its reputation. The article is about GEN Ys who are, arguably, compromising organizational security to do what they want with IT.

My first thought was what planet has the author – name redacted to protect the guilty – been residing on. Or, more properly, what planet/dimension/universe has the author’s brain/mind been inhabiting? This is NOT news. It’s a built-in of GEN Y that has been discussed in management and psychological circles for years going on to decades. So is this just shoddy journalism or shoddy publishing. I suspect the latter. Even incompetent journalists seldom sink this low.

One of the itch spots in this is that somehow GEN Ys are original in this disregard for organizational policy and self-agrandized security. To quote Sherman T, Potter, U. S. Army Medical Corps, “Moose Muffins!” with added exclamation points as misquote. How do you zit headed rejects from Pulitzerism think not-mainframe computers got introduced into those organizations? By GEN Xs who did what they wanted to with IT. And those Mainframes? Introduced by Greatest Generationers who happened to have started the organizations that were stomping previous generation organizations like rotten grapes under an elephant’s pad. The history of the last sixty years or so is one of young (?) people doing what they want with IT and forcing the organization mugwumps to adopt or die! And that is, by and large, what the ones who didn’t adopt did. Discorporate.

The problem is that after we introduced desktops and networks we let the matter slide and the organizations, as organizations invariably do, corrupted the Tartarus out of the workplace. I speak of the rise and implementation of a separate IT instrumentality to maintain the infrastructure and make sure the ordinary members of the organization were severely punished if they even thought of dinking with IT. It’s not that these folks were exactly evil, but they got fed a bunch of stercus by management and got turned into jack booted sadists. We saw this in Nazi Germany and now we have in in organizational Amerika.

But liberty can’t be squelched from DNA that rapidly, at least not yet and when it does humanity will cease. And now the GEN Ys, who have been reared in an environment of bitter denunciation of the evil that is organizations have demonstrated they have the genes yet. And Hurrah! for them. The organizations have a choice, they can adopt what the GEN Ys want, or they can cease to be. Same choice as organizations had in the ’80’s. We’ll see if management has gotten stupider, a thing that always seems impossible at every given minute. And always seem to prove accurate.

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