Roll a D99

Lovely frawg-straggling rain out there, and the Greater Metropolitan Arab Electron Uncooperative is flickering and flaying the computers. Maybe they have a bribe coming from the manufacturers of UPS?

Speaking of pay offs, I noted an article [Link] reviewing how Winders Ate does on a slab. The reviewer gave it good marks on functionality without pinging them anywhere near strongly enough on app absence. I kept asking myself, given that Metro is a copy cat of Unity, why we haven’t seen Ubuntu slabs yet? Could it be because Linux users are mostly doing work? And know how to use a computer, two attributes not often found in Winders users.

I also noted an article slamming the idea of bringing more games to Linux. I didn’t think it worth the notice at the time and didn’t note the link. I have to admit that I am not really engaged by the matter. As I have stated previously, my type of gaming is passe and the current games are unattractive, even repulsive.

What does engage is MegaHard’s abandonment of its core market, turning its back on desk and lap boxes for the sake of slabs and cells. Especially when so many old timers in that marketplace are sinking fast – Rim has become badly pitted – and many competitors still remain. The assumption that the existing base, which is patently being abandoned, will migrate with MegaHard to the plank box marketplace seems questionable. Somehow it seems more likely that when those users take up a new desk/lap box OS, they’ll stay with that for planks.

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Rational Myth?

I ran across an article yesterday entitled ‘The Myth of Rational Science” that raises some concern over how bogs seem to think science works. [Link]

I hate to tell all the bogs who read this blog – all 2.3 of them – but science is mostly rational. Or, at least, reasoned. But we have to consider whether we can consider the stuff that arises from the unconscious mind to be rational? My understanding is that the answer is maybe.

Some ideas arise from the conscious – rational – recognition of patterns, or applying an experience in one area of description to another. That’s part of why we work all those problems in shule and have to study a lot. Part of it is basic tool learning, part technique learning, but a  lot of it is thought training.

But having said that, I have to acknowledge that a lot of ideas rise up out of the unconscious mind. I used to do math problems, especially contour integrals, in my sleep. I would bed down thinking about an integral and when I woke up – often – I would know how to perform the integration. Of course, I would have to hurry up and write things down before they got lost, which is probably part of why I am a morning peron over and above having early riser mutation.

But just because these ideas arise in the subconscious or unconscious mind doesn’t mean that they aren’t treated rationally. In fact, it doesn’t matter whether the source is rational or not, all that matters is that the idea arises. And once it arises, it has to be developed and demonstrated. We don’t just stand up and announce that we had a dream and that revamps physics (or any science discipline.)

No, we take the idea and see if it works as giving us new understanding of reality. It gets subjected to the same testing that any part of science does. So we can’t claim that these dieas are actually irrational.

So what’s the myth?

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Book Reviews and Aversion

Why I don’t do book reviews and ignore those who do:[Link]

And remember: if you don’t take the derivative you don’t know the slope.

I recognize that the you-don’t-need-algebra-after-high-shule bogs won’t understand that one. Tough. No sympathy. And be discomforted that even if you go look it up on the internet, you won’t understand it.

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Internet Incredibles

It’s sundae and the day of attending services for most of the christianist sects in Greater Metropolitan Arab. That sorta makes it Shabat for those denominations. Of course they still do work and even gossip so it’s not really?

Anyway, for me, it is time to prune tabs which is not as onerous as it should be since I am operating off a small lapbox rather than one of my deskboxes – still too much sensitivity to too much emitting area and too much white space in email and browser windows.

The first tab/article is a stern criticism of Megahard.[Link] Seems that Winders Ate has been annointed as an utter disaster by some gaming guru,

“a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space”

using a pronouncement that the tile gui will drive some OEMs out of business. I have to admit that between not being a gaming type – I’m too old and the games that are out there aren’t what I want to play being an old miniatures gamer, Modern Armor and WW1 naval, transitioned to EMPIRE and PERFECT GENERAL when I got volunteered for the Yankee Army War College – and the reportage, which is turgid at least, but the implication is that the MegaHard Mafia is leaving the gaming fanatics behind in their rush to replicate Canonical’s catastrophe and become just another player in the cellular telephone/tablet market.

The article is semi-couched in this is good for Linux but I am not sure I get that unless this is one of those folks who still think Android is really a distro and not a mutation. From my parochial and heartland viewpoint Android is the new gaming OS because the gaming industry continues to seek the bottom of what’s under the Marianas Trench.

Next, there are a couple of articles: one from Marketplace Tech [Link] about how FaceScroll is going to push out more advertisements; and another [Link] by our esteemed colleague Matt Asay in the Register about FaceScroll following MySpace into the infamous accumulating Markov state of gone. Matt’s azimuth is the grail quest for a safe archive for information (in the technical sense) of personal importance – i.e., where do I stash all my photos and poetry? Since I haven’t drunk the cloud bladder lemonade his concerns are peripheral to mine. I used to have a cloud, called my house, that an act of deity put poof to and disposed of most of FD SCP and my personal importance information. You learn from such experiences, mostly to view any effort to stash stuff as temporary and hope that the destruction comes after you discorporate. Between that and a grave distrust of the shoddy state of encryption in the cloud, spiced with a bit of paranoia over the expansion of warrantless Big Brother, and I am going to keep my personal value information on many pieces of matter, redundantly.

But that is not the azimuth I wanted to pursue about FaceScroll. I put pictures on FaceScroll for sharing, not archiving. And yes, I am aware that the young are departing FaceScroll as fast (or faster) than ORFs are arriving. But I think is FaceScroll collapses it will be from economic pipe clogging rather than fashion. First of all, I am not concerned about the ads thing. There are add-ins for browsers to squash the most execrable of them. It is amusing to remind the FaceScroll suits that it is not Gooey; that I am not looking for a source of stuff but to interact with other humans. Advertisements are orthogonal to that experience. There, plain and simple. Advertisements don’t work well on FaceScroll because they aren’t relevant to its functionality. In fact, I will go out on a limb and offer the hypothesis that advertisement effect is a constant and adding additional advertisements will only dilute things.

Nor am I worried about humans abandoning FaceScroll. No one is going to go develop a new social site (that works) for ORFs. It’s been tried and failed. More than once. Contrary to the picture of market pundits, ORFs do talk to their children and grandchildren and they do have younger friends. And FaceScroll may be a hemorrhoid with all the disruptive “improvements” but it’s still order of magnitude better than Gooey(minus). Selah.

And lastly, there is a rather odious little article [Link] in SmartPlanet about how colleges need to convert sine die to internet presentation. The only factoid that I saw of concrete nature was a claim that undergrads are not learning very much. The concrete of that statement was that in my experience undergrads have never learned very much, mostly because of distractions, hormones, and absence of discipline. Yes, I learned a great deal as an undergrad but I mostly attribute that to making my own way in deciding what courses to take and consistently evading/avoiding/ignoring some rules that I don’t think most undergrads can do, especially the bogs.

That, of course, is the crux of why this lemming rush to the internet is farcical. Yes, it may work for the bogs, taking their majors in business or literature or humanities or some other fluff discipline. They can not learn in a web lecture or structured learning site just as easily as they can not learn in a human presence lecture. Of course, the down side of the whole thing is that this web shift eliminates the option of cutting lecture and learning it on your own which is what the smart bogs used to do and I suspect still do.

But the crux of the matter is that internet presentation flat does not work for nerd courses and nerds. Nerds already have a good, arms length, medium for learning course material. It’s called a book. And the eBook readers of today do not support nerd books – absence of equations and graphs and such – and likely won’t in future. But the crux of nerd courses is problem solving and that needs to be done in small sized classes where students can watch a senior (professor or grad student) work an actual problem and ask questions like “What the heck was that you just did?”and “Why did you do that?” And no matter how good the senior is, he/she can’t anticipate all the critical questions.

This is one of the primary reasons we are turning into a third world nation. It’s because we are not teaching our nerds right. That is, we aren’t teaching how they learn. We aren’t writing and drawing ad hoc and responsively on a blackboard. We’re using canned stuff that isn’t really providing what is needed, because only the student can tell you what is needed and usually only after the fact. So responsiveness and freedom are the watchwords of nerd education and that is what all of this internet presentation is doing away with. So we aren’t teaching nerds and as a result our society is being drug down to the level of bogs. Third world level.

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Arrogant Ineptitude and Fruit

I fail to comprehend why Saturday is the most nasty day of the week. I suspect some of it is a hold over from working days when Saturday was the only day that one could – sorta- do the business things that couldn’t get done during the work week because we left before anything needful was open and got home after it was closed. Of course there were places that weren’t open on Saturdays and we had to not do business with them and laugh when the local conscript parents lamented how the folks who worked in Huntsville didn’t patronize Greater Metropolitan Arab businesses enough. Another of the paradoxical joys of government-by-real-estate-agent.

Of course that hurly burly requirement is no longer extant now that retirement permits us to patronize Greater Metropolitan Arab businesses during the “work” week, not that we need to patronize them since we aren’t working, which is another paradox that evidently grows out of the arrogance of perceiving oneself as necessary, but somehow the hecticness seems to still pervade the day even with the absence of requirement.

But now to tabs: the first relates a survey [Link] that indicates the “rich” prefer Apple IT goods over Megahard and Gooey and …. Not that the survey seems to capture the actually rich but just the well-to-do, at least as I understand the metaphor. Translate that into Apple has snob appeal. I suspect it’s also a matter of arrogance – again. The well-to-do, like the managers I discussed yesterday, have a lot of confidence arising from being well-to-do. Folks who think they make more money because of their abilities often have confidence slopping over into arrogance. It’s one of the steps towards overt slavery and one of the best reasons for the existence of the guillotine.

But I also suspect that a lot of folks who buy Apple junk are letting the tail wag the dog. They would like to present the facade of being successful because they think that will get them promoted and hence they adopt Apple junk. In both cases, however, part of the appeal is that neither the wanna-bes or the actual well-to do want to learn how to use IT. There are two reasons. First, they can’t admit that they don’t know something commonplace, and nothing is more commonplace than IT. It’s like agriculture was two generations ago and automobiles one generation ago. The second reason is that they can’t even assay to learn because then they would demonstrate that they can’t.

Now there’s no shame, at least for most folks, including nerds, that they can’t learn something. I, for example, have very poor mechanical skills. If I can’t get something built or fixed using naive bruteness, I have to hire someone to do it. I can change light bulbs but not well. But arrogant folks who have to maintain a facade of competence cannot be seen to not be able to do something, especially if it is a common skill. They have to rely on crutches – Apple IT junk, e.g. – or make the excuse of being too busy to have time to do something simple. Their time has to be spent on complicated things that they can do and the common cannot. Hence that television commercial from the other day.

But this cements what Apple is, a manufacturer of second rate IT junk that is mostly facade – bling – and too little capability. But it is nice to know that both they and the arrogant well-to-do exist. Because that’s part of Amerika.

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Arrogant Fructose Rot

Friday again and once more past the gym thing. Of course this was the first week I could do gym in a while because of the confinement so the cessation is not unalloyed.

I did get to do a bit of surfing yesterday, in and around errands, and discovered that the academics at Michigan State U and U Akron had devised a testing scale and instrument for workplace arrogance.[Link] The reportage implication is that this can be used to get managers to reduce their arrogance.

I realize from watching the pablum that passes for television programming these days that managers are stereotyped as arrogant and this is viewed as the great tyranny of the workplace but as is typically the case with entertainment, warpage exceeds accuracy.

First of all, there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance and the position of the line depends on the organizational society and culture. What outsiders view as arrogance is often just slightly overblown confidence. Confidence is a key factor in advancement in many workplaces. It is viewed as reflecting competence, which is often a specious correlation but in the complex workplace environments of today most executives are incompetent technically but can recognize confidence. This ineptitude and its accompanying insecurity is one of the primary reasons why executive salaries are so large.

As a result, testing instruments and even subordinate reviews are largely irrelevant as behavior modifiers. If they are negative, most managers will reject them as petty or bitchy. Managers know that promotions and bonuses are approved from above, not below. Indeed, in most workplaces, subordinate reviews are morale tools to delude the subordinates. So if anything, a testing instrument for arrogance is more likely to make conditions worse than better.

There are managers who are neither arrogant nor incompetent. They seldom rise above middle level because they know how incompetent and asocial their own bosses are and refuse to go to the dark side. Nice guys don’t finish last; they  finish in the middle.

And while we’re on the stupidity azimuth, a Gallup Poll reports that 0.48 of sample population consumes at least on soda pop a day. [Link] Almost all of those soda pop are sweetened with fructose which converts much more readily to fat in the body than other sugars. And that happens despite what the fructose industry propaganda on the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver claims.

Advertising is de facto anti-accurate!

This would seem to be the modern equivalent of Romans drinking wine in lead tumblers, the lead dissolving in the wine and staying in the body where it wrecked all sorts of damage and eventually leading to the barbarian invasions and the fall of Rome. If that logic seems a bit whacked, it is, in the spirit of the idea that soda pop is a staple food.

I have noted however, that really bad junior managers with excessive hubris tend to drink a lot of soda pop, mostly the diet kind that uses another type of sweetener that does rot the mind. Of course this is a chicken-egg situation. Did the soda pop rot their minds and make them bad managers or did being bad managers with rotten minds move them to become addicted to soda pop.

If you can’t get a good boss, at least don’t drink soda pop with stercus sweeteners.