Belly Ripping

Yesterday, I attended the March meeting of the Marshall County Linux SIG. One of the ad hoc topics of discussion was how Mozilla is killing itself. Then at gym this morning I listened to a (somewhat dated) episode of the “Destination Linux” podcast where the talkers said much the same thing.

What Mozilla is basically doing is emulating MegaHard – and maybe Canonical. 

It may be recalled that MegaHard adopted a tile GUI in W8 and promptly began to lose users. It is still using albeit at a lower rate indicating how much of the Winders user base really is asentient and aintelligent. What is relevant here is that they did it to themselves. Ostensibly the reason was convergence (which is what got Canonical into the methane bog,) but actually it was stupidity. After you spend umpteen years with a desktop format and then suddenly change it, with it advertised to love it or leave it, you are gonna get lots of leaves. The only stopgap has been drastic changes to the look-and-feel,

Canonical did the same thing when they rolled out Unity, which was also a tile GUI. The only salvation was that there were other GUI choices, supposedly much against the desires of Canonical management.

Now Mozilla has built a FireFox, and is building a Thunderbird, that don’t work with add-ins. So all the folks who treasure the add-ins above FF itself are leaving to either a FF fork or to a Chrome family member. 

Never underestimate the stupidity of management. Even in IT. 


Linux Failure

Don’t get me wrong. Linux is 100 dB better than Winders and probably 10 dB better than Apple’s OS, but because of the large number of distributions some are better than others.

And some are just flat Stercus.

Case in point: I ran across an article [Link]

“Warning: 14.04 LTS to 16.04 LTS upgrades are problematic, and should not be attempted by the average user. Please install a fresh copy of 16.04.4 instead. To prevent messages about upgrading, change Prompt=lts with Prompt=normal or Prompt=never in the /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades file. As always, make a thorough backup of your data before upgrading.”

Basically, this says that a version upgrade of this distribution from 14.04 to 16.04 will trash the OS, so you may as well nuke and pave.

Because that’s what you will have to do if you try to upgrade.

I’m not going to name the distro. But it’s usually #2 in popularity. It used to be #1 but the status corrupted the mentation of the management and the distro rotted.

I used to use this distro. But stercus like this prompted me to abandon it.

Linux may be FREE but that doesn’t mean it has to be excretement.

Hubris Natter

I have had to spend TOO much time lately with Medicalists and Toothists. It’s one of those stochastic condensation things, not – per se – due to physiological failure. But I do have a bit of a grouch to express.

Why is it that all of the dentists are able to send me .ICS files and I can confirm my appointment by handshake and none of the physicians are able to? All of the physicians have humans – at least these do – call. So why? 

I don’t think it is any humanitarian thing.

My conjecture is that dentists are more technology savvy but I can’t elaborate how. 

But it is a bit of a mind hemorrhoid. 

The dentists send me a file that conveys all the information to my calendar client. And the confirmation is either by pinging my calendar or a web pulse.

The physicians demand I remember all the data, they get huffy if I have to write it down and make them slow down, and it’s a pain. Because I have to hand enter the data in the calendar and I have to call back if I’m OOA.


Swiss Cheese IT

Intriguing week. Lots of confusion and strife. Had to motor into Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill Wednesday for a gum inspection. Two weeks early. Not bad but draining with the uncertainty going in.

Then on Thursday I had to motor to Guntersville to help a colleague install Linux Mint on an old (relatively) W7 lapbox. Which turned out to be severly whacked by its Windows install and had to be given religionist internment.

Did I mention the box was made by HP? Sad. Used to be a good company when I was in college. Stercus now.

After the debacle we shared our experiences with IT staffers over a mediocre cup of coffee distilate. I won’t mention the location since coffee distillate isn’t part of their mission.

Then today, at gym, I listened to an episode of Linux Links podcast. On this, the part I listened to this morning – the rest tomorrow afternoon (I do hate the religionist discrimination the gym management practices!) – the four talkers held a telecon with some young woman who was a Freshman in college studying Computer Science. This conversation – and the discussion Thursday – reminded me of a couple of things

  1. Computer Science folks can’t do Nerd computing.
  2. If you have to tell me your discipline is a science, then it isn’t.

I have visited the latter several times previously and won’t elaborate much on the matter. Computer Science is considered to be a STEM discipline but too many of the folks who study it are not nerds. They’re geeks. They collect stuff mostly, and do sometimes. But mostly in inordinately well defined environments.

Take the physical universe. The only manuals we have for it are the ones we have written for ourselves. (And, NO, religionist books are not manuals!)

Take the biological universe. The only manuals we have for it are the ones we have written for ourselves.

Take the computer universe (relatively speaking.) All the manuals we have for it are how the universe was made. In effect, Computer Science guys are gods because the create their stuff from the physical and biological and social universes. 

So why do they have such problems? If you ask, they will tell you it’s because of all the people who aren’t IT and the IT folk who are idiots and sociopaths. The latter usually being everyone but the individual and his (very few her – mostly because of good sense) drinking buddies. 

Did I mention that this is a construct of MegaHard and Forbidden Fruit attitudes towards computing? The more serf-like the users, the better. Especially management, who is seen as the great evil because they never make the IT budget large enough. 

But all the wiring diagrams of their universe are there from the get-go.

What does this have to do with nerd computing? Well, nerd computing is different from everybody else’s. Most people do browsing and spreadsheeting and word processing and maybe a bit of databasing. Nerds write computer programs, something that only IT folk are supposed to do. But the Nerds use languages that the IT folk don’t know and, in most cases, can’t learn very well. 

Say FORTRAN to a young IT person and they’ll have to go into psychiatric analysis. And that’s what all the supercomputers are programmed with.

Nerds also want to attach computers to things they have built for themselves, like spectrometers and particle accelerators. IT folks mostly can’t make stuff but they can – sorta – repair what they have. At least if it can be repaired. Only the minority of IT folks can design IT stuff. 

IT folks claim that IT is a profession. No argument, if profession means a body of knowledge that you get paid to know and use. 

So what is NERD computer programming? For example, a simulation of the formation of the universe? Can IT guys do this. Unless they’re the rare ones who are NERDs, they can’t. Generally only NERDs can do NERD programming. And that really bugs IT folks. Because it’s a knowledge hole in their domain.

The good news is that some of them can learn it. If they are taught by NERDs. Unfortunately, if they are, they too become NERDs and can’t be “real” IT folk any more. 

Sleeping with the Enemy.

And I need to reveal a big secret. The NERDs are happy with this. Because they want someone else to do all the scut work on the Internet. NERDs don’t mow grass. Not because they can’t but because after the first time it’s a waste of time. 

And I ain’t even gonna mention Quantum Computers. 

OS Schule

Five Day. End of Week In. Cleaning up a bit around the Crunch Corner. 

One of the articles [Link] waiting for reading was entitled “5 of the Best Linux Distros in 2017” and after reading it I had occasion to contemplate how I grade OS.

First of all, are they available live? That is, can I burn the OS on a DVD or USB stick and boot the computer to try the OS? If not, they grade out F–

Note that this fails both Winders and the Apple OS. They are in the buy-then-try category. And they’re the primary reason Linux exists with this and other crippling defects (like inbred susceptibility to digital cancers.)

My father had a quite narrow foot – 12AA with an AAAA heel. When he was bored on TDY he would go into shoe stores and ask to try on shoes, saying he needed several pairs. Then the clerk would have to own up to having no shoes in the store that would fit him, thus no sale and no commission for the clerk.

That was a long time ago when one could actually buy shoes that fit instead of the gunboats of today.

My similar activity is to go into a computer selling store and ask how much a computer is without Winders. When the clerk gets obnoxious, I ask for the manager’s name and social security number so I can report them for legal violations. 

If the OS boots but can’t work with the WiFi adapter and the video card in the box, then they grade out F. The article I mentioned about included two OS I tried this week: Debian 9 and Solus. Both failed this test. Yes, they could talk to the monitor but neither one could talk to the WiFi stick. 

If the OS gets a passing grade, and I like how it feels, then I install it on my test box. Then I test it for a while. The tests are fairly broad. For example, I try to see how much it degrades over time. This is where Ubuntu fails. Their LTS releases are 24 months apart but the probability of failure at 18 months is O(50%). So Ubuntu (and its clones) only gets put on machines with constipated UEFI that lock up when Secure Boot is disabled. So far the only boxes I have found with this flaw were made by HP. 

Right now I am mulling SNAPs and FLAT PACKS. At the moment I am negative, mostly due to their overhead and the state of ISPism in the hinterland. I have mentioned earlier that in the summer – when the bairns are unleashed from schule – I have to do updates at night because they – the bairns – hawg the bandwidth so much. The problem is that most of Amerika, outside the megametropolises, has stercus for bandwidth. All courtesy of capitalists, of course.

So why do I want a software store that offers me no bandwidth benefit if I have the OS installed? That’s the question no one seems to want to address, much less answer. Most of my updates are a few Mb. Most of the new programs I add, even with additional supporting SW, are a few MB. So why do I want those to climb to Gb? Odor of rattus.

Music Messiah

One Day. And I got reminded I am ORF at gym this morning. And not by the polite weight bouncers – all one of them. Rather, the podcast was a episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” about Jewish Canadian talk fest about the nature of the electronic revolution. AS is often the case, the focus isn’t on what’s important like field theory or quantum mechanics or even manufacture and design of the electronics. No, it was about the social aspects and that was a resounding mental thud for me. 

Yes, I care about the parasitic nature of contemporary organizations, especially the corporate ones. And yes, Facescroll and Gooey and such are the evil pretender or some such superstitious thing. And I care that human slavery is being reinvented by everyone from greedy entitleists to politicians to whizz wizards. 

But I’ve heard it all too often and climate change has already gotten too far, so what difference does it make how the species ends? 

And then I ran across an article [Link] entitled “Apple Just Killed Off 2 Iconic Products, And People Are Super Sad.” Turns out Apple – one of those corporate slavemasters – is killing off two of its lower end (as in cost/profit) offerings. And they’re both MP3 players.

OK. The news flows – I call them that because they span a range from a torrent, as in SMS news bulletins, to a diffusional creep, as in television broadcast news programs that seem to always be hours out of date – have been full the last few years with the demise of the MP3 player. (I do watch the local weather foretelling, mostly so FD SCP and I are on the same (erroneous) sheet.) 

I have commented on this previously, mostly about the so-called demise of the MP3 file because its copyright has discorporated, but this blot is more about the players.

The demise of the MP3 (/OGG/…) player is supposedly because everyone is using their cellular telephone to stream music. And so the dedicated MP3 player is irrelevant.

I feel like taking my claymore to the tertiary STD infectee who claimed that. Mostly because the type of stercus caput (that’s fecal cranium for the Bogs) that says such a thing is the same type who says all one needs in the way of a knife is named Swiss Army. So I’ll give him a Swiss Army knife against a claymore any day. And when I clave him from the nave to the chaps, I won’t have to listen any more?

The Swiss Army knife is exemplified by the MacGyver stories. More the original ones than the current farce on the television. Not that it isn’t entertaining, but it’s not congruent enough with the book. Like most remakes. Like ALL remakes?

Anyway, I see folks at gym with ear buds – those wired raisins one sticks into one’s ear canals – plugged into their cellular telephone trying to get it to play music. And when they finally waste enough time to get that to work they have to figure out how to secure that cellular telephone on the short leash of the ear buds. Most of them spend more time wrangling with the hardware than exercising. 

I have a dedicated MP3 player. It acts like a USB stick when I connect it to my deskbox. So all I have to do is tell my RSS accumulator which podcasts to download and then I use the file manager – usually one that supports two panes – to drag and drop the podcast files onto the mp3 player. And then I put it in a pouch attached to a neck strap, attach the earphones – not earbuds, I see no reason to irritate and inflame my ear canals – and I’m ready to go off to gym and spend less than a minute queuing up the podcast of the session. 

So on the one side we have cellular telephone and ear buds that doesn’t work well but does lots of other stuff not well too and on the other we have a dedicated player and ear phones that work very well.

A classic instance of the Swiss Army Knife paradigm. We can even express it as maths:

number of things it can do * how well it does each thing = constant

For the acalculate, that means the more things you can do with one tool, the worse those things will be done.

If you want to walk around unencumbered with a multitool for emergencies, carry a Swiss Army Knife. If you are in the emergency business, you carry a toolkit. 

That’s why the MP3 player is repeatedly declared dead; because Bogs can’t understand why they are useful and most journalists are Bogs.

And what about music? I have a separate MP3 player for music. Why? Because what I listen to isn’t available on those streaming services.

Brachistochrone OS 1

I often get questions from Winders serfs and Apple slaves about changing to Linux. These questions run from the terminally asentient “can I run program XXX on Linux?” when all they have to do is visit XXX’s web site and see if there is a Linux version. Hint: it’s almost always a waste of effort. People who make money selling software to Winders serfs can’t compete in the Linux marketplace. But the availability of Linux equivalents (or superiors) is better than Ivory Soap’s buoyancy. This is one of the reasons I try to get Winders and Apple users to think in terms of tasks and not in terms of clients.

Intriguingly, the process that most users who convert take is classically that of technology adoption. (see Rogers’ “Diffusion of Innovation”) The primary difference has to do with a blind spot in Rogers’ model – abandonment. In the old days, back when agriculture was the “new” technology and people were going from being nomadic Hunter-Gatherers to sedentary agriculturists, Rogers’ model of technology adoption was quite valid, but today when we have extensive technology, the adoption of new technology has to also consider the abandonment of old technology. At its simplest, giving up the land line telephone for a cellular telephone. 

In my experience, changing OS is an archetype of this modern version of adoption. Look at how many people refuse to move to WX. Some are even so unsure that they consider Linux quite deeply, which is a unique channel. Most Linux demagogues consider only the OS -> OS channel, not the OS version -> OS distribution channel. Which is good, because the demagogues usually scare off as many potential converts and churches scare off members with excessive (and intrusive) evangelism.

One of the questions I get asked when a Winders or Apple user is almost ready to experiment is “which distribution should I try?” This is a big step for people whose only concern with OS variation for most of their adult life as been version (and some who are truly mind puppets always go for the latest.) The enormous democracy of Linux, hundreds of distributions, is daunting. It makes supermarkets full of different brands and variations of product look like Yugoslavia under communism: “you want soap, here’s the national soap.”

So my first question to try to help them make a decision is “scheduled or rolling release?” A scheduled release (upgrade) is discrete and occurs (usually) on some calendar schedule, annually or semi-annually. A rolling release upgrade is spectral, but not discrete. That is, as parts of the OS get improved they are released immediately in a rolling release but saved up for a scheduled release.

This means that you have a lot of little upgrades over the year in rolling releases but only one or two BIG upgrades in scheduled releases. 

I prefer rolling releases, and the reason is captured in the title of this article [Link] “Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Operating System Reaches End of Life on July 20, 2017.” It’s those words “end of life” which have come more and more to be literal. 

If I get an upgrade notice in a rolling release and I am busy, I can wait a while to install. If I get an upgrade notice in a scheduled release that my current release is “dead”, then I install at once or I’m bad off. 

So scheduled releases are almost like MegaHard updates: they don’t take control but they do try intimidation. And because they are BIG and half of us live in the Heartland with stercus for bandwidth, scheduled releases have a MUCH higher probability of vertically copulating the OS than do rolling releases. 

But that’s my take. And, by the way, Linux has no blue screen of death.

More when the muse descends.