Ehhhhhhhhhhhh?

Most – almost all – “smart” cellular telephones have about a twelve hour battery.

So the “Frankenstorm” has come ashore. As I was in gym this morning I got exposed to a lot of nonsense. The gym has a couple of walls lined with electromagnetic audio-visual receivers. My first twenty minutes is spent in direct line-of-sight to two, tuned respectively to Reynard news and C news.

As is usually that time of morning the Reynard folks have their Barbie Band doing the “news”. And it was a mixture of hilarious and groan-some. Of which I speak is a news Barbie proclaiming that they are helping folks/keeping folks safe.

The storm is ashore in the “New” colonies, centered approximately on New Yawk City. Which is where, I am told, Reynard news does their yak yak.

Approximately 1.7 megahomes are sans electric potential difference this morning. That means at least 1.7 megapeople and probably more than twice more.

And the question is: how do those folks get cared for/saved by Reynard news. Unless they have lots of batteries, even their “smart” phones are depleted by now and it is rather unclear how any of those folks, lacking a, independent generator of electric potential difference, can access the information stream of Reynard news. Or any other source except possibly low bandwidth analog wireless (radio.)

So here we have these classic Barbies like some impostor from “Mars Attacks” in an independently potentialed studio putting forth claims that are at best specious and at worst blatant prevarication.

Strikes me as a paradigm for journalism corporations under all conditions.

And I hope this condition of the residents of the stricken ground is relieved rapidly.

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Serial Efficiency

Ah! Back to gym and week in. Rather nice other than waisting twenty minutes of listening time (a segment on a stationary bicycle – 4.2 miles – but I’m an ORF, after all) on a podcast episode that didn’t get deleted, so I defaulted to a shorter series and inlistened an episode of BBC’s “In Our Time” on the early days of the Royal Society. As is almost always the case with organizations, early days are both productive and turbulent.

But this put me to mind of an article [Link] one of my colleagues, Magnetic Inductance Force, sent me entitled “10 IT relics I really miss” with a few comments. The article is an annotated list of ten IT “things” from the golden age of desktops. I’ll only reproduce the “thingies”, not the commentary, here:

  1. Computer magazines with source code
  2. Computer stores
  3. True desktop cases
  4. Durable keyboards and mice
  5. In-person help desk visits
  6. Immersive gaming
  7. BBSes
  8. Shareware subscriptions
  9. Software that didn’t have to be installed
  10. Easily modifiable code.

My colleague’s comments were largely the addition of compiler-text editor integrations.

I have to say that I find these a mixed bag. The magazine were a lot better then being really technical and not just bad journalism and OS hacks but the computer stores were a real pain since they didn’t want to have anything to do with solitaries and hobbyists. Computer Shopper was a mitzvah and the computer bits buying may be one of the few socially redeeming pieces of the internet. I prefer towers mostly because they are easier to get in and out of albeit heavy – a meaningful matter to an ORF. I still use a Northgate keyboard and select for robust mice. Before I retired we had IT visitation and it was a bit of a pain trying to hold meeting in office with an IT guy bashing the box. Gaming has always been immersive back to when we were playing Star Trek on an IBM 360 at the campus of the Black Warrior; it’s a personality thing, not a computer thing. I recall getting immersed in WRG Modern Armor games. BBSes were always strange and shareware subscriptions were exciting even when you discovered how lame the client was.

And I have to agree with my colleague. The best thing was when Phillipe Kahn brought out Turbo Pascal and the eternal swapping from editor to compiler ended. Even though TP wasn’t the ideal number crunching language.

But what I miss the most of those golden days was how productive they were. You were stand alone; email was a matter of dialing up a mail server. Calendering was purely local; files were transferred via snail mail or shank’s mare. And because you didn’t have multitasking and multiple open clients you had to, and could, plan your work. So you almost never got distracted by administrivia if you had the least modicum of will power. You just scheduled when you were going to do those nit noid things and if you weren’t busy then, they got done. Today they dominate and get done to the detriment of real work.

So yes, those were the golden days when a computer was a real productivity multiplier. Even with FreeCell.

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Breaking Tile

It’s ice cream day again. And I sorta slept in this morning – 45 minutes. So I am only moderately behind. The weather beavers said it was going to be thirtyish and I am up on top of a foothill of the Appalachians which is usually 2-4 degF cooler than Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill (you bogs do know that’s a metaphor?) and several sources are telling me 46 degF. So massive vertical copulations have occurred that will likely be blamed on the hurricane-nor’easter that is supposed to return the Yankee coast to the neolithic, or thereabouts.

What none of the news bogs have bothered to mention, except by very weak association, is that the national election for chief executive is tuesday week and there is a significant probability that much of the nawth colonies part of the Yankee republic will still lack electric potential. And most folks can’t vote without that. So as the Chinese curse goes “May you live in interesting times.” And yes, I did use the “I” word but in a quote.

Since it is the day after shabbat, the pseudo-sabbath for the christianists, it seems fitting to talk about some aspects of contemporary religion – Operating Systems. And before you get all torque frayed, stop and think how much time you spend at services and how much you spend on computer. (The two may overlap.)

Anyway, the starting point is an article [Link] entitled “Windows 8: Is Microsoft’s new OS too odd to handle?” Ayeh, MegaHard just unleashed its latest OS version, Winders Ate, which among other things has a Tile GUI. The article is a listless catalog of the new “features” of W8 which can basically be summarized as ‘necessary to be a tablet OS’. The ‘d**n the desktop users’ is tacit but nonetheless loud since that is the bulk of the reviewing population. The changes are basically making the OS less, so it will run fast enough (?) on slow (redundant) tablets.

The author-journalist did sum things up pretty well with

“You can also expect the howls of dismay from users trying Windows 8 for the first time to quieten eventually as world+dog gets more used to Microsoft’s latest effort.”

Some of the other comments were less civil, probably because the utterers don’t get advertising revenue from MegaHard?

None of this is particularly new to SCP since Canonical did the same fifth appendage step-upon over a year ago when they introduced Unity and the migrations away began. You would have though Shuttleworth packaged a Mephitis mephitis in the ISO file. So the rather canny question is how many will stay with Winders? I suspect the answer is few but before we visit that there are other nice articles to associate.

The same folks, at the Register, did another piece testing a small population of some sort of strained catagories. [Link] These folks got their first try at W8 and were interviewed, a sort of man-on-the-street except drug into offices so they could use a computer. Some of the quotes:

“It’s a bit confusing and it’s hard to get the mouse into the corners.” (Eight-year-old girl – the corners are the activation points, a geometry plagiarized from other Tile GUIs – expect litigation!)
“That wasn’t very hard. Has this thing got Minecraft?” (Adolescent human male)
“It’s like they tried to make the computer like a mobile phone.” (Twenties Office Serf)
“Microsoft needs to put some tutorials in this or it will frustrate a lot of people.” (Small Business Owner)
“It looks pretty nice once you know how to use it, but it is not immediately intuitive.” (Middle Aged professional (?))
“Microsoft will have some kind of introduction to this, won’t they?” (ORF)

which I suspect have been rather nicened up a bit as I would have expected rather rougher language from the adults and less respectfulness from the bairns.

My thought is that there will be few deserters. There will be an increase in late adopters as those who do intelligence preparation or the OS will delay their adoption or just stay with WXP or W7. I think MegaHard is counting on this to keep from totally alienating their desk and lap box base. I suspect this will include most of Fortune 500 and the large organizations like the Yankee government because they just don’t get computers in the front office. Period. Maybe Exclamation Point!

But for those who might switch, I offer up a very nice article on Ubuntu variants [Link] for those who maybe want to get away from MegaHard now that MegaHard is abandoning them to the lower dungeons. Note that the core Ubuntu isn’t included here for the simple reason that it also has a Tile GUI and if you are abandoning Winders because the Tile Gui don’t work on your desktop you don’t want Unity, or the Gnome version. But all of these are familiar in usage and appearance to the faithful of the original XEROX PARC windows metaphor. Yes, Linux requires a bit more technical know-how than Winders but wonderfully there are willing people and great web sites to provide that information – unlike MegaHard.

So if you want to abandon the lemming rush to the Tile GUI and think you are good enough to be free of MegaHard, make the change. It will make you a better person. And thinner.

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Blonde, Blind Woman

Lately, the local television news programs have been showing a lot of sob sister reportage having to do with murders and other crimes. Lots of supposed victims weepily mumbling – barely coherently – about fairness and justice.

To quote Sherman Potter, “Moose Muffins!”

First of all, fairness is not objective. What I think is fair, is almost assuredly not what you think fair is, and niether of our thouts is stationary. Besides, life is not fair. It’s driven by all sorts of things ranging from “Nature” to “Society” none of which have any pretense of being fair other than in the lie.

Second, justice is also not objective. If anything, justice is only in the context of the organization. It’s a means to control the members of the organization. It’s not a right, it’s a constraint.

So can we have less of this bog babble? It’s almost as bad as the religionist stercus that is holy ground and can’t be id of, but do we really have to listen to bog delusions?

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Bogs are Mucky

It is week out again – Saturn’s day – and once more time to tab hawg. The weather beavers have proclaimed that fall is (maybe) finally here, as much as we are going to get with climate change anyway, and so I actually shivered when I got up this morning, switched from summer to winter bathrobe – housecoat as FD SCP calls it, and yes, it is sort of a coat and you do only wear it in house, but I also almost always only wear it after I put hermaphroditic gunk on my moistened corpus. For the bogs out there, that soap, which has the necessary characteristic of being comprised of molecules that are polar at one end – so they can latch onto organic pollutants – “dirt”, which isn’t actually – on the skin – and ionic at the other so they can latch onto dihydrogen oxide (liquid phase.)

So while we’re on bogs and climate change, we probably should note a study [Link] done at Yale and George Mason Us on Amerikan attitudes on climate change. The article asserts that the fraction of Amerikans who “believe” climate change is “real” is increasing. It has some nice plots, obviously done by an savvy graduate student using a good graphing program, like this one:

The other are similar and deal with other variations on the basic question so I won’t bother to regurgitate them here since that’s not the point I want to knap.

Fustest of all, to quote all those who misquote Bedford Forrest (and if you don’t know who Bedford Forrest is, you’re likely a bog anyway,) the graph is misleading because it is shown as straight line continuous. This is the default in most graphing programs and is almost always nastily misleading. Especially to bogs who are led to think that all that change is linear. And irritating to geeks and nerds who know it isn’t but do recognize that graduate students are one class of modern slaves.

The second thing, and this is the nasty one, is that word “believe”. That nails down that we are talking about bogs since nerds, and most geeks, would not like to say they believe in climate change since that is horribly irrational (and insulting to any rational individual.) Rather they would say that the data and theory appear to be accurate absent any better data and theory. All models are wrong, all science is transitory and must be continually tested and validated. Beliefs are irrational things that have to be kept almost stationary to evade the testing criteria.

I ain’t even gonna touch the deity component of all this.

On the positive side, it seems [Link] that the guvmint of New Sowth Wales, which is in Australia, forbids the use of cellular telephones while the motor is running in motorcar. Wunderful! The price of even fondling a cellular in motorcar is about 300$. Given the attitudes of most of the Australian citizens I have known I am surprised that this does not involve roadside trial and summary execution by drawing and quartering, a punishment that motorcars effect much more efficiently than horses if considerably less entertainingly. We may only hope that the mode is for miscreants to resist and receive a stout truncheoning in response.

This would seem to prove that, unlike the Amerikan model, incarcerated criminals can be rehabilitated, not just encapsulated and reinforced, and actually have good sense. In this instance, better than that of all politicians in the Yankee republic or the English tyranny monarchy.  Although knowing human nature and the creep of rule bashing, I would tie a cellular telephone gobbler into the transmission of every motorcar, physically unhackable naturally, that subverts any cellular telephone inside the motorcar so long as the transmission is not in park state. That way we should not need truncheons. And it might be kinder to the bogs since so many of them are incapable of learning.

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Weather Denial

Slept in this morning. It’s Freya’s day. No gym to do, just coping with the joys of aging and graceful (?) degradation as my colleague, Angular Momentum Light Speed of the Georgia Institut of Technology used to call it. I spent a fair piece of my career figuring that one out. It’s rather related to the transition from stochasticity to determinanicity.

Yes, I know determinanicity isn’t in the dictionary. That’s because the religionists tend to absorb all the words having to do wither determine. They mean it in the sense of some religionist – superstitious – thing, usually having to do with the relationship between the deity and non-deities. But in physics we mean it in the sense of not-stochastic. And the interesting thing is how a stochastic universe can come to act not-stochastically under certain conditions. And those are conditions that humans live in often enough that a lot of bogs think, and declaim, that stochasticity doesn’t exist.

These are the same bogs who wager on athletic events and play fantasy football – aka Dungeons and Dragons for bogs – which rather makes them compromised from the get go.

In this spirit I happened across an article [Link] claiming that the number of tornadoes is decreasing. But the figure of merit was the number of people discorporated. At which point I went in “Hunhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” mode. After some thought I decided that the simplest approach was a Drake’s equation type of thing of derivative probabilities. First you have the probability a tornado will occur, then the probability given a tornado that a human will get discorporated, and then the number of people in the path of the tornado.

The latter is the big whizzer. The first two can be guesstimated several ways including by historical data, which is, quite simply, not very good, simply because it hasn’t been until a few years ago that the weather beavers can even track the beasts. So maybe they have a decade worth of data?

But the big question is people density. If you’re in open land that probably means low numbers of people and if you have high numbers of people that means you’re in a city and there is enormous variation in vulnerability depending on the nature of the terrain (in open land) and the tornado resiliency of the buildings (in high density.) So any model we come up with is going to be pretty complicated and generally far beyond what the data will support given it’s not even an adolescent. (Yes, Friday is pun day!)

So while I don’t doubt the ability of the tornado wonks out in Oklahoma to count cold noses, I do question how good a model they can have that’s fulfilled by the data, not because they haven’t been doing as good a job as they can, but just because they need to collect data for another half century or so.

Which with probability 1 makes it beyond my concern. But it does help explain why we have so many climate change denialists in the Yankee republic. We have all these bogs who are stochasticity denialists.

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