American Failure

One Day. Back to Gym. Moderately sparse. Not many weight bouncers. The podcast was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” about fire. It was a piece that started out well and then degenerated to schmaltz about the Twin Towers Terrorism. I don’t know what the creators’ intent was but I doubt it was being alienating and boring.

Not that I am bored by the loss of life and property but the presentation was singularly ineffective for INTROs. All social emotion stercus and no real substantive content. If anyone should be ashamed it should be those creators.

But this did give occasion to reflect on a Stanley Schmidt editorial in the March 2012 ANALOG. (And YES, I am WAY behind on reading my ANALOG subscription.) He was talking rather critically about manufacturing corporations abandoning their customers by dropping old implementations to sell new ones. 

This is not a new topic to me. I have harped several times about tool versus appliance, but not so much from the standpoint of the greed of the manufacturers. This is a major problem and one totally ignored by ALL politicians, probably because they get bought by those manufacturers. 

But perhaps not? I have noted that politicians no longer worry about their legacy; what they are remembered for. Evidently they think they cannot be remembered and thus only worry about getting re-elected. Which is another problem that we need to fix. But can’t so long as we have no control over politicians.

The problem is that in the midst of an information age, we are losing information at a rate greater than we create it. Yes, a net loss of information. Take PowerPoint files as an example – and Yes, I will acknowledge that MegaHard owns the right to that name and is one of the major causes of this problem. The problem with PowerPoint is that MegaHard keeps updating the file format and orphaning all previous formats. So all old PowerPoint files are unreadable and hence effectively lost.

Now in many cases this is actually a boon since most PowerPoint files are rubbish. Rotting rubbish in several meaning of the term. But some are not and when they cannot be read something is lost.

We have gone through this before. In the Dark Ages. In fact, this loss was part of why those times were Dark. Because when the Roman Empire fell a LOT of information was lost. Similarly, the library of Alexandria was burned by superstitionists. So much for the value of organized religion. 

And we’re doing it again. But the perpetrators are corporations who are uninterested in producing tools and only want to produce appliances. 

Sadly, information doesn’t work the same way food does.

Looking around at the corporate oligarchy, I am glad to be ORF, especially knowing that the politicians are doing nothing to aid their constituents. 

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