Ten Tyranny

Just ran across this article [Link] on Lifehacker. Seems that Winders X updates will be mandatory. Not only that, they get pushed and installed when MegaHard wants. No delays, no deferments.

Suddenly Linux looks a WHOLE BUNCH better, doesn’t it?

Like the advantages of freedom over slavery? Or democracy over dictatorship?

Prime Flop

Think Cow Flop. Also known as Cow Pattie. A cake of cow stercus. Exceeds Sturgeon’s rule. 1.0 crap. Except for microbial and maggot impurities. Leave it alone and it’s innocuous. Touch it and get covered with flies and their offspring. Stomp on it and you get covered with a stench that makes a skunk gag.

That’s Amazing and MalWart yesterday. And I successfully did no more than poke the former. And discovered among all their marvelous (?) offerings nothing I would purchase. In the few – very few – cases when an offering was of interest, the price was too high. In the one case of an item on my wish list, the price on wish list was less than the sale price. 

So I baked off and swept the maggots off my hands. And I never even tried MalWart. Their stuff is always too expensive. Not only are they slave keepers, they’re greedy too. Very Amerikan.

And I noted that NASA made it to Pluto. I keep thinking that when the craft left Pluto was still a planet. After all, it wanders doesn’t it? So it’s a planetes. But you can’t see it without a real telescope so why bother. That which we cannot see does not exist. Except during religious services. 

Anyway it’s a goodly accomplishment for an engineering project. But it doesn’t impress me as much as the LHC coming up with a pentaquark. Horrible name. How about if a hadron is a triquark than a haveron is a pentaquark? Or is that too Friday? 

Anyway, an F– to the media for coverage. I had to go through a half-dozen press articles to find out which quarks were involved. And none of them got around to actually telling me whether it’s a Fermion or not. So another flop.

And the weather. And climate denial. Air is too hot for me. And it’s all because of humans. Mostly politicians. What we need is a president who doesn’t make more than a hundred K a year. None of these millionaires and billionaires. The idea that a 1% rick guy can run the country better is somewhere between delusion and insanity. 

And the podcast was urine ugly. 


Not a Heat Flop

Two day and once more into the oven. Gym happily scantly populated. But the podcast episodes were disappointing.

First, since the Guardian’s Science podcast is evidently on that months long disappearance the English seem to call “holiday”, the Amerikan vacation writ enormous, I had to find something else to listen to. I ran across the Big Think folks a while ago and despite mixed signalling I decided to give their podcast a trial in the European gap.[Link]

This episode was about a half hour so not a bad length until I listened to it. A horrible disaster. Something like Sturgeon to at least the fourth power. 0.9999+ crap.

This was a discussion, moderator plus Bill Nye the “Science Guy”. Not any science I could hear today. Two bits. One about fashion in the lab. Not only was it a cow flop but they wallowed in it. And all us Southrons know what happens when you churn a cow flop. Not even the skunks will get with smell range.

Second, there was a bit about search engines. Nye tried to say a few things but they got flopped by the moderator who was trying to be a talking head. Why they couldn’t have discussed nerd search engines instead of Bang! and Gooey is beyond me. 

There may have been some bit about interplanetary currency exchange but I pretty well went tortoise after the search engine flop.

If the guardian is out again this week, and I can’t find an alternative, they may get another try. But I hope not.

Frankly, Arthur Jeffries could have done 100 dB better.

There was also a bit from NPR about the figurehead (minority political) head of OPM getting put down. Point they missed – or evaded – probably the latter since it is horribly damaging, is that it’s not just an IT security job that got ignored, it’s a rupture of civil servant trust in their employer. Watch for another big age chasm in the government in years to come as young people figure out the Yankee government can’t be trusted, especially as an employer.

When the World Rots

The air moveth not. So the constitutional was less than enjoyable. Natta, natta, natta. Even being low is getting unsatisfactory. 

I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

yesterday. Now I never drew cartoons, except in my schule notebooks to while away the time while I was information deprived. And the cartoons were typical boy stuff of the Containment ’50’s, and the teachers didn’t like but they learned that ignoring them was better than handling the questions the information deprived kids asked that they couldn’t answer, didn’t want to answer, and the bog kids didn’t want asked. In later years I felt sorry for them – a bit – and hated the schule authorities who catered the curriculum to the bogs majority. Of course if they had catered to the geeks and nerds the bogs would have been rioting in orthogonality. You can lead bogs to books but you can’t make them learn.

Sometimes Brave New World sounds good.

Anyway, this cartoon captures a situation that in my family. My younger brother is EXTRO. 

Enough said.

I also noted [Link] that there is a new BBC computer.

which is a far cry from the BBC computer I had (well, actually a clone but close enough) 


The original BBC computer was all about programming in BASIC. And the bits and pieces of storing and retrieving programs. On/off tape cassettes. I don’t quite fathom what the new one is for. Evidently it’s about registers and machine instructions and such? Seems a strange thing to have to distribute to kids en mass

As far as I can figure this is an artifact of the consumerist/appliance aspect of computing that has become such a pervasive cancer. Back when I was a kid we got the basics of computer functionality thrown at us. Not in schule mind you. Definitely not in schule. Maybe a couple of the STEM teachers had some idea but usually less than we so trying to teach would have been a debacle and a humiliation. For the schule system.

But we got it from SF magazines and Popular * magazines and the like. I read YA books on the subject when I was in the equivalent of junior high schule. But what was missing was the using the computer. It was a holy relic in those days. Adore but don’t touch. Programming was in assembly language or machine code. Programming transcended even nerdery.

By the time I was in college we could program using COBOL (yuck) or FORTRAN (yea!) And I did for years. My first STEM job was more about writing FORTRAN code than doing real STEM. And there were still real programmers around in those days but it was quicker to write your own rather than try to explain the algorithms. Real programmers didn’t do differential equations – then or now. The only difference is that then the STEMS had to write out the algorithms in FORTRAN; now the programmers grab a library routine. Unless there is no library routine. Then they have to go back to the STEMs.

So it appears that the knowledge level today is less than it was in the fifties. Not really surprising. Have you tried to have a discussion with a GEN Y lately? Not easy. Or enjoyable. In the main.

Horrible when the world rotted while you were working.

In Praise of Summer

Not a happy morning. Temperature too high. Not much breeze. The constitutional was at best mediocre. The podcast was not 10 dB within that good. And the park cats were out in large numbers.

This is one of those day when I suspect I have died and no one has bothered to tell me. It’s not that it feels particularly bad. No worse than usual. Just that nothing feels good.

That seems to be the nature of modern life. Perhaps it is how life always has been. Mediocre and banal on the edge of hurt. When it doesn’t actually cross over.

I should be working. I want to be working. But nastiness keeps getting in the way. Mostly relatives. The involuntary kind. The kind who think that the only things important are what they care about. And anyone who disagrees is wrong. Nasty, evil wrong.

No wonder the GEN Y avoid their families. Bad medicine. Parasites. Antiquarian obstructions.

Makes one envy orphans.

La Brea Computer Pit

DIhydrogen oxide falleth. No constitutional. But I did remain abed for a extra bit of time and that was moderately enjoyable. Still I eventually had to rise and perform ablutions. Which are increasingly unpleasant and even painful as my existence stretches on.

I had been muddling what to write about this morning when I decided to check email a bit before commencing with the morning blot. The first epistle I opened was from Coursera and that was as far as I got. 

I have commented previously of my aversion for on-line courses. I am simply not a read or view videos on a small screen (lots of hyphens shoulda been there) type of guy. I have commented previously of an online credit card course I had to complete several years ago that was supposed to take two hours and took me two days and a bottle of acetaminophen. I have come to the conclusion that I am a lecture-blackboard-book type of learner.

But I do note, bemusedly, the rise of these massive (?) online courses and so I subscribe to email from Coursera and edX to survey the offerings. I have to admit that I find the completion rate as less than a third and usually less than a tenth to fulfill my own bias of dislike and distaste. I also used to hate video-conferences although I never quite succumbed to nasal mucus removal as a diversion during such.

But what centered my cognition this morning was the relatively large number of ‘computer’ courses that were offered. Evidently this is some sort of Ouroborus situation. But what occurred to me was the wisdom of actually studying computer stuff. 

I have used computers since 1967 when I first learned FORTRAN and have made digital messes ever since, culminating with a tenure as CIO of a Yankee Army lab, inflicting my antiquity and nerdiness on manifold geeks and a few other nerds. And a fair number of bogs. So I am well disqualified to argue that one needs be careful in spending too much effort studying computers.

First consider that computers are turning into appliances (e.g., slabs) and that IT folk are becoming over-supervised Maytag men (idiom, not sexism.) Yes the job still pays pretty well – not as well as real engineers who can weld and lay asphalt and design moon rockets – but pretty good and steadily declining. Most computer work is the new blue collar for the new majority with college degrees but no education, just training.

I have learned that there is a rule of economics that if something pays well and lots of people take it up as a career, the pay goes down and the working conditions turn to slime. I am assured by my economist colleagues – none are actually friends for obvious reasons – that this is nothing but simple supply and demand although they cannot elaborate convincingly. 

I have colleagues of the Pure X variety who declaim that we need more Pure X in IT. I counter, unappreciated, that we need fewer people blindly selecting IT as a career. I am almost NEVER appreciated. Evidently reality and racial/gender/ethnic goals are immiscible or explosive. 

I should like to tell what folks need to study. The best I can come up with is business or real STEM. Making stuff up, whether computers or literature, doesn’t pay well in the long term although it is fun to study. Some of the nicest, poor, bogs I know were college literature geeks/nerds. Yes, Virginia, some of us cannot sustain nerdery and the marketplace is the primary reason.

So study computers at your own risk. And don’t pay a lot of attention to college advisers. For obvious reasons.