Nasal Drip

Today is “Red Schnozola” day. Or some such. Evidently rather a big thing in the Mother country. Has something to do with feeding starving children. Given I live in Alibam and the average elector believes in starving children – they are fanatically and insanely “pro-life”, which is anything but – so I contributed yesterday when I was in Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on theHill purchasing OTC medications at a Walgreen’s.

I should perhaps comment that this is a matter of necessity. We have no Walgreen’s in Greater Metropolitan Arab because the city conscript parents are only interested in attracting new residents and unhealthy businesses – like fast food/fast death franchises – to town. Their efforts have been highly successful: the mean number of obituaries in the Arab “news” rag have been steadily increasing and the mean age has been steadily decreasing. The effort seems to have hit a snag however, since some of the fast food emporia are themselves in danger of starving. 

I suspect their next act will be to contract out the school meal service to a fast food place, especially now that the fascists have a majority in the Yankee Congress. Or perhaps I should say the militant, capitalist fascists to differentiate them from the rabid, people’s paradise fascists. 

I also note that today is the fortieth anniversary of the “Star Wars” thingie.[Link] I call it a thingie not because it is a thing in the sense of matter but because I am never sure just what it is. Anyway, I know I do not like it because it is rather an outrageous lie. The story is supposedly about a peoples’ fight against government tyranny but is made ridiculous for the absolute acceptance of slavery. So inherently and destructively contradictory. But it persists because of the Bogs. Or at least that sounds good although there are more than a few Geeks who recycle their micturations and are advocates of the idiocy. 

Meanwhile, I also noted that one of those militant, capitalist fascists has physically assaulted a reporter.[Link] Now I acknowledge that too many reporters are too aggressive and irritating but not to the point of beating them. Of course, given the flavor of politician in question it is probably noteworthy that the reporter in question was neither discorporated, permanently crippled, or cast into prison awaiting execution for lese majeste.

And Monday is a day of memory for those who served in the military. All this rather makes you wonder why?

On the Imprisonment of Electrons

One of my colleagues, an academic Velocity Spin Angular Momentum, has a tag line in her signature “No electrons were killed in the production of this email, but several were inconvenienced”. We have to expect humor like this from a feminist computer geek trapped teaching computers in a business college. 

I am reminded by it, however, that when we do things electronic, including saving emails, we are usually imprisoning electrons. Which led me to consider two matters in this regard.

The first, [Link] has to do with the relationship between updates and the recent WannaCry pogrom. I call it that because it was an organized execution of a social group. In this case, not Jews, or other religionists but, in a sense, atheists. 

Many of the aspects of computer geeks and nerds is that their attitude towards computers and matters computing has strong parallels to stupidstition and mythtrapping. They are a people set apart, exalted above the majority, and often disliked by that majority. As I have mentioned several times the difference seems to be that between a tool and a appliance.

The study bemoaned in the article talks about the faithful majority. It turns out what they are faithful to is not installing updates. IOW, their commitment to believing, no matter what, that their computer is an appliance and needs no maintenance, only replacement when it craps out.

All sorts of statistics are presented but they are not very convincing beyond some skillful artistic presentation. Apparently that minor difference is significant. Survival is once more razor thin. 

What bemused me about the survey is its bias. It is pro-appliance user. The attitude is that freedom from updates is something decreed by the deity. So their answer is the make updates unsensible. IOW, just sit back and let the deity take care of you. 

Very anti-vaccination, anti-soap, anti-knowledge, anti-freedom.

The bias extends to only including Winders users in their sample. This one is a bit smelly. The sample population is large enough that the probability of being comprised only of Winders users – no Apple, no Linux,,, – is vanishing small. Maybe not suddenly asphixiate when all the air in your room crowds into one corner but still so small as to prompt a special counsel.

And they all hate updating, to some degree. I understand that. I am almost always not thrilled by updates. The exception is when the previous update trashed something I need to use.  But I check for updates daily. Usually I let the update client in the OS do the checking but I don’t let it do automatic updating. Why? Because I have learned from experience that if X is updated and not Y at the same time, Z doesn’t work. So if X is in the update list and Y isn’t, the X update waits.

This is the situation in spades fro MegaHard. In the last twelve months they have released three (that I know of) system killing updates. They got fixed in a day or two (surprise! surprise!) but that didn’t help the pious who updated automatically and had to hire someone to bring their box back. 

Abandoning responsibility is a short road to loss of freedom. And maybe to gain of death. Think of updates as Listerine. Hate it, use it when it makes sense, and keep your teeth.

The second, [Link] is entitled “Ode to the Graphing Calculator.” It’s written by some tweener journalist who had to buy a “graphing” calculator in public schule. With lots of tears fro the pain and suffering of having to carry the thing and have to use it. Evidently finger enumeration is preferred.

I have scant sympathy except for knowing that what little chance this fellow had of learning any maths (and enjoying them) were vertically copulated (with mentally deteriorating STD) by the public schule system. Education by mandate is ineffective. And the public schules will never abandon it. 

So Tyson (“Chicken Man”) is right: “Good students learn in spite of bad teachers.” Or bad schule systems. 

I went through public schule in a different era. Parents held students and teachers responsible. And they were part of the process – regardless of whether the schule system wanted them to be or not. Fastest way to retire as a superintendent in those days was to get a dozen parents micturated. And the teachers were judged on how much the kids learned that the parents didn’t. None of this no science because we’re Conservative Reformed Shrub Druids. Kids were supposed to learn to analyze stuff for themselves. And make enlightened decisions. And standardized tests were a distraction, not a holy ritual. 

And we had no calculators. That’s an overstatement. The admin office had a tape adding machine. That was it. And from fifth grade on (ninth or tenth for most who did,) I had a slide rule. I got it as a Christmas holiday present from pushy parents (it was a fad that year) and I was precocious enough to learn how to use it on my own. Because my parents were at the taped adding machine level and wanted be to be more advanced. 

So I used a slide rule all through public schule. And all the way through college. And I drew graphs with graph paper and pencil and straight edge and French curve. I still do except I use a spreadsheet program. 

When I was a first year grad student the first battery powered portable (not fit in a pocket) calculators (four arithmetic operations) came into the marketplace. Only the rich kids had them; grad students didn’t have the coins. Food and rent and heat were higher priority. But we did have access to the schule’s Freiden calculators. No tape but you could crunch numbers and write them down preparatory to hand graphing,

About the same time, HP brought out their first portable nerd calculator, the HP-35. $375. That’s two months gross salary for a teaching assistant. So we still used slide rules.

When I was about to take my qualifying exams, HP brought out a third iteration, the HP-55. The Yankee Army of Occupation saw fit to issue me one for my work duties and allowed me to use it for other things not involving damage to the calculator like smashing nutmeats or loosening frozen machinery. I never used it in an exam. Why? Because it was too slow. Slide rule was faster. Risk avoidance. 

Years later I got a graphing calculator. Not a TI, which the author extols. Mostly because TI bought the standardize testing people. Not directly – baksheesh. That’s why the public schules adopted them instead of HP. That and the inability of the proletariat to learn how to use Reverse Polish Notation. That slowness of HP I mentioned? Still twice as fast as a TI because of RPN!

So no great love for TI. Lots of colleagues like. That’s fine. TI is like Unity to me. (See previous blot.) 

I never really learned to do graphs on a graphing calculator. Resolution too low. Only worked with nice functions. So when Lotus 1-2-3 came out I signed on immediately for “Instant Graphification.” I could mumble up numbers AND plot them. Pretty goodly. Especially if I had a laser printer. HP again. 

So I have no dog flesh in the graphing calculator thing. I prefer the number display. Got lots of calculators. One is a TI. Bought it to be able to converse with a colleague. 

HP isn’t as good as it used to be. My HP-35 (bought at a salvage sale) still works but the battery is goop and I have to stay withing reach of a wall. If it wasn’t an antique for my daughter to sell when I discorporate iot would be all I need except for vanity and whim. So I mostly use an HP-35S. And a couple of others. And despair of the demise of the calculator. The crap on my cellular telephone is not 90%, it’s 100%.

And I still think schule kids should have to learn to think and analyze and reason and decide. Not get tested on key pressing.

Another time I am glad to be ORF. And have a good calculator. And several good slide rules. And integral tables. 

So I may find the authors’ comments misplaced but not unattended. And bemoaned. 

Existence is Trying

Six Day. Week Out. No excursion to gym this morning because the capitalist poltroons are too money hungry to open at a reasonable hour. The only good is that it confirms the hospital proper is just as foul and incompetent.

As I was downloading Podcast Episodes this morning and moving onto my gym player, I came to reflect on things that are going away maybe, inspired by all the rot being emitted about the demise of the MP3. Presumably these are the same people who try to sell luxury paper plates. You know, the ones made of hand pressed paper with hand painted designs? Great market for such in Alibam. Or am I thinking about college athletic pornography souvenir plates?

My first thought was the supposed demise of Unity. As the one or three loyal readers of this blog know, and everyone else runs away from screaming in pain and horror, I am not a fan of Tile GUIs. In my mind, it is rather a toss-up whether Unity or the Winders X GUI is the worser. Certainly Gnome 3 has some redeeming value. And it is a bit offputting to me that Canonical has abandoned Unity for the latter. Is there actual rationality in the MegaHard of Linux? 

Of course, the actual MegaHard is not absent of rationality, at least the kind that is welded to greed and mental pathology. It’s the primary reason I keep rooting for ReactOS. 

I do not expect Unity to go into the night, quietly or otherwise. In a community that can support so many GUIs, including things like Budgie, Unity will continue. So when I found an article [Link] this morning about life after Unity I kept thinking that some group of dedicated independents would continue the GUI. That’s the nature of the Linux community; it turns stupidity and insanity into something constructive: the hope for humanity as it were. 

I personally do not like Unity. But I have other choices and I want to keep having choices. Which is why I detest MegaHard and their no choice dictatorship. Which is, in some sense, a mirror of Amerikan politics. Two parties, no choices.

Anyway, because I like choices I cannot (and do not) deny them to others. So I am in favor of Unity staying about so long as anyone wants to use it. (And yes, I am still micturated about Gnome 2 and about to be micturated about KDE 4.) 

Something perhaps similar is the current matter of public displays of Confederate veneration. I noted that New Orleans, the home of freedom of sin, is removing its Confederate memorialization statuary. I also noted [Link] that Alibam has gone the opposite direction and posted militia units and ambulance chasers around all such. The matter is deeply divisive and at the root of contemporary political differences.

As a matter of illustration, It takes me about twenty minutes to drive from my domicile Castellum SCP here in Greater Metropolitan Arab to the southronmost point of Huntsville just past the Whitesburg bridge across the Tennessee river and I will observe at least a dozen flagpoles flying the battle flag of the Confederate States Army. About half of these are private (?) residences but the other half are businesses. Apparently, in Alibam, displaying a battle flag improves cash flow. Clausewitz would marvel and write a chapter were he alive today?

I do not object to this so long as it does not restrict my freedom. It does. The people who do this tend to be insecure and express their insecurity with violence. And the constabulary, especially the politically elected kind, are loathe to even consider being in the area much less enforcing law. 

But it is basically amusing. Indicative, I fear, of the general distribution of rationality and intelligence in Alibam that the flag displayed would be a battle flag. Reason and a brief knowledge of history such as is supposed to be conveyed by the third grade in Alibam public schules would seem to show that the proper flag to be displayed would be the Confederate national flag. But for some reason that flag holds no attraction to these people.

In sum, The World Wonders.

Similarly, another thing going away is medical insurance. The politicians seem to now be back on their outlook that nothing is to be denied them but everything to their constituencies. Except those who are richer than the politicians. What doesn’t seem to occur to them is that taking away well being and life is a form of tyranny in the sense of disposing of freedom. The freedom to die is, happily?, not being infringed, and given the nature of the actions of government perhaps a good thing. 

On the positive side, we read [Link] of the first imprisoned birth of a Humboldt penguin chick  in a decade. The beast has been named Fluffy McFluffyface which not only displays some sort of strange naming custom in England but also the sad nature of many things including the rather nauseating and hemorrhoidal names being foisted on infants these days. It used to be that the offspring of the so-called “dirt poor” were blessed with names like “Smut” or “Phrobizher”. Now it seems universal, perhaps reflecting that everyone – except politicians – think they are “dirt poor.”

It is also saddening that a significant fraction of the population of several (too many) endangered species are inmates of zoos and torture corporations. So perhaps that discontinuance of medical insurance will be good for the planet?

 Perhaps the only reason humanity survives is for the humor value?

Day of the Linux Spanner

Five Day. End of gym for the week. Accompanied by the unpleasant nattering that the gym will close One Day next for a holiday. Any excuse. Everybody else will go about their business, with an interruption to observe the reason, but otherwise the holiday is not an excuse for non-service.

This is what happens when one lives in the Old Confederacy, in a small town. The people generally think themselves exceptional when they are actually mediocre to defective and use any excuse to avoid effort. 

Reminds me of the latter days of the Roman Empire when chariot races and bread donatives were more important than effort. 

We have become addicted, at least in most places and of most people, to avoiding effort and productivity. No wonder jobs are scarce and disappearing. Robots are better workers and soon to be smarter as well. Makes me glad I am ORF so I don’t have to worry about the political oligarchs implementing the Irish Solution.

On which azimuth, I noted yesterday an article [Link] entitled “Why Linux has Failed on the Desktop.” I should warn the reader that the author of this article is a journalist and not a knowledgeable human.

The thesis is that Linux has failed on the desktop. That is intriguing and so I picked up the article to see what insight might be present.

There wasn’t much.

The article starts by blasting the propaganda of the Linux capitalists that this is “The Year of the Linux Desktop” repeatedly for several years. Somehow he fails to note who is saying this: people who sell Linux services. 

Then he makes a series of arguments that basically come down to: Linux is too difficult for all those folks who wait about for chariot races and bread.

The sad part is that much of his arguments against are actually arguments for the success of the Linux desktop. Specifically elitism, given that elitism is personal standards, productivity, creativity, and learning. In this regard the standards of contemporary journalism are marvelously upheld.

Yes, Linux is elitist. If competency is elitist. Yes, it helps to think like a “developer” to use Linux. It helps to think like a surgeon to do heart transplants. Or like a mechanic to fix motorcars. When I was growing up reading Popular Mechanics and Popular Science and they were full of do-it-yourself projects one of the currents was the need (and how) to think to do the project, be it carpentry or plumbing or soldering. 

The problem is not that you have to think like a computer geek to use a computer; the problem is that you don’t. That’s the difference between a tool and an appliance. And if you can make do with an appliance, well and good; you don’t have to think computer. But if you need a tool, you need to think like a tool user or you’ll end up needing someone who thinks like a physician. (Worse Case, admittedly.)

The people who want to make lots of money selling Linux are the only ones who give any credence to the “Year of the Linux Desktop” catch phrase as anything other than that. People who believe this are the same ones who eat daily at fast food troughs and think MalWart is a benevolent employer. Television before Thought. 

The people who actually use Linux, whether as server or desktop software, are worried about the quality of their tools, not the sound of the beep on their appliances. 

But I do have to worry about the folks who drink the koolaid and criticize the sippy cup.

Hammered

Four Day. Off to gym. Pleasantly sparse. No LOUD Women, only one weight bouncer. Podcast was the start of an episode of Destination Linux [Link] that is coming across rather poorly. Made me think of the guy who broke his nose when he fell asleep on the job from boredom and smashed his face into his desk. Made rather a bloody mess – literally – of the (actual) desktop.

I suppose I have a bit of a problem relating to a stereotypical Southron Red Neck who claims to be a Linux Guru while prating about his Red Neck behavior. Not sure that bragging about killing lots of animals and roughhandling lots of women is congruent with the basic ideals of Linux.

On which note I got to hear from the clerk at gym how Scant City Memorial Hospital [Link] had their annual (Yankee Government mandated) outreach to ORFs. 

What is notable about this is the discrimination. The event is EXTROs only. No, not by announcement, by action. They structure this this event to be as unfriendly and hurtful (and harmful?) as possible to INTROs. 

Why? Because they are Southron and go beyond not caring into actual hatred. INTROs are as bad a people with brown or black skins or epicanthic folds. Maybe worse. Because they are generally smarter and better educated and more likely to know when they’re being cheated and bullied. 

Ayep. Medical capitalism in Marshall County, Alibam. All the usual prejudices plus Southron.

Oram Sans Mens

Three Day. A bit strange, even for a Wodensday. Schule is obviously counting down to desessioning for the torrid term, loosening all manner of carpet cruds to suck up my share of bandwidth from the so-called Oneonta Telephone Company, a corporation who thinks that landline voice service is their core competency even though they lose 0.1 of subscribers each year. 

The scary part after attending aboard meeting some years ago was to discover that this is indeed the core competency of their directors and management. Shade of the Containment Era!

Anyway, the podcast, an episode of CBC’s “Quirks and Quarks” was entitled (What Scientists did on their Summer Vacation.” The title is the humorous part. First of all, all the scientists interviewed were women. Not that I have anything against women; my life depends on them, but they are hideously underrepresented in the sciences and to have only women on a podcast like this smacks a bit of genderism?

I also have to wonder if geographers are actually scientists? Even scuba diving geographers. 

Anyway, I motored to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill in search of provisions and wisdom, obtaining both, the former from various stores and the latter from a colleague, Mass Magnetic Field. 

While I motored I listened to a CD I had recently purchased of pipe musics and highland throat mumbling. A good collection and I found myself cursing traffic idiots in a brogue. And reflecting that the greatness of the Scots is amply demonstrated by the bagpipes, a musical instrument that is easier played while walking than standing still. 

Then I reflected in whether that thought was racist of not? 

I shall not belabor my thoughts on “race” as a matter of rubbish, but the stereotyping denigration (which is NOT a racist word) is rubbish only in the sense of not having any merit or benefit. I realize that humans are programmed to delineate “Us” versus “Them”, but not outside our skulls and definitely not in action. 

For some reason, I was reminded of a family July 4th reunion the summer after I had finished being a Freshman. Flip flops were enjoying (?) their first (?) popularity and all of my girl (is that genderist?) cousins were wearing such. My grandmother commented something along the lines of “nothing says trailer trash like flip flops.” I recall their parents, at least half of which were the children of the woman speaking, looked horribly uncomfortable, apparently unsure of whether they should defend their offspring or defer to their parent. I was bemused, looking at my own feet, shod in Hush Puppy loafers horribly pitted over the toes almost to a hole on both shoes where acid had dropped in lab that year. The air tingled with that horrible agony just before super-cooled steam turns to crystaline ice with a wild crash as everyone froze and pretended to be deaf. Then the moment passed and a frustrated lemming urge to flee was suppressed until food was consumed. 

That was the last time I went to a summer reunion. 

And when I got back to Castellum SCP, I came into contact with an article [Link] entitled “RIP MP3 – the sound file that changed the world is declared dead.” Somehow this abomination of techno-journalistic babble put the whole matter into perspective. 

The thesis is that the organization who owns the patents on MP3 encoding announced that they would no longer license the use of the encoding. Lots of journalist who know how to write but not what to write have been announcing the demise of the MP3 file. 

(Sniggering laughter from the Nerd and Geek contingent. Blank ignorance from the Bog majority.)

What the Fraunhofer Institute meant was that they could no longer license MP3 encoding because their authority to do so had expired. Patents have a lifetime, unlike – apparently – copyright which seems to have been conscripted by greedy people wearing flip flops. 

In words of a different flavor, licensing of MP3 encoding is no longer necessary. It is now a resource of the species.

I suspect that part of this Bronson Beta grrrr brrrr was pandering to the people who make high end music players (those that do OGG or AAC but not MP3) and the makers of RAM. After all, journalists have to make money to survive because no one will willingly pay to read what they have written these days. (So they have difficulty purchasing new flip flops.)

The MP3 is not dead. It still has utility. For one thing something like five thousand new podcasts are generated every day on Tellus and almost all of them are available as MP3s. And a lot of music is still available as MP3s and will. Because there are lots of audio files – podcasts and not-classical music – that people don’t want the enormous, audio accurate files. If I’m listening to a podcast at the gym, surrounded by weight bouncers shouting visceral groans and crunching cement when they drop their weights and educationalists whose indoor voices are more suitable for a football game in a hurricane, I want enough quality to understand (maybe) what is said but not pay the RAM price I would pay for Beethoven from the Berliner. 

And it will likely stay that way. Despite what some knowledgeable journalists ominously foretell. 

But the intriguing question is what kind of Themism is discrimination against a file format? Fileism. Formism. Digitism? Noiseism?